Would it be beneficial to fertilize my entire eight acres?

By Grant Woods,

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I would like to start by saying I am a big fan of your work and appreciate everything you have done to provide us as hunters valuable information to better everything about this fine sport of deer hunting.

My question is, after reading one of your articles pertaining to growing big bucks anywhere, I have always wondered if completely fertilizing a small tract of property (approx. 8 acres) like I own here in Ohio would benefit me in any way. What I mean by this is would it be beneficial to basically just walk through the woods and fertilize my whole piece of property with the hopes of not only attracting deer to my property because of the increased growth potential of the browse, trees, etc. but ultimately would this increased nutrition (if it occurs) provide the benefits I am looking for to also increase antler growth? My next question is if this is beneficial what would you actually fertilize with, 10-10-10, etc. to cover all browse and tree species?

Thank You For Your Time,


Thank you for sharing the kind words!

Deer and other critters might benefit from fertilizing the entire eight acres.  However, I suspect critters would receive much more benefit by focusing your resources on plants that are better at converting soil nutrients to an edible form that is desireable.  For much of the fertilizer that is applied under trees will go to producing wood and not forage material (nuts, fruit, leaves, etc.). 

Depending on the vegetation present, the fertilizer may encourage weed growth rather than plants that deer will consume.  Based on research there’s no doubt more benefit will be provided if you created a one acre food plot and planted it with a crop that is known to covert nutrients in the soil to digestible forage.  

Remember that 10-10-10 stands for the amount of nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium in 100 pounds of product.  So by using a fertilizer like 19-19-19 twice the actual nutrients can be spread with the same amount of time and labor!  Even more importantly collect a soil sample and determine what, if any, nutrients are missing. Folks that don’t apply fertilizer based on a soil analysis often apply (pay for) too much of one element and not enough of another. In addition, each type of forage will require different amounts of each element. For example, corn requires a lot of nitrogen while soybeans require very little nitrogen (the “fix” their own by taking nitrogen from the soil and air).

Enjoy creation,


December 20, 2015