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QDMA/NDA article on mowing???


Active Member
Sorry, don’t have a link but anyone see the article that suggests that the experiments they tried suggested that there was actually more weeds in clover plots after a few months of mowing than the plot or half of the plots that they didn’t mow?? If I’m not mistaken it referenced broadleaf weeds specifically. Seems to be 180 degrees from conventional wisdom that’s been out there forever. Friend of mine only screenshot a small diagram from the article so I haven’t read it in its entirety yet but seemed very interesting.


PMA Member
Color me skeptical...as one that has mowed and not mowed clover plots on a timely basis. I guess you really can't believe everything you read these days. :)


Active Member


Active Member
I hear ya Daver! Skeptical is definitely the right word for me too. Posted a poor picture above of a diagram from the article (again I’ve not read it, just had friend send this pic to me). Seems like a “scientific” analysis with percentages of weed coverage and the whole deal. Don’t know what to make of it and maybe there’s more to the story in the rest of the article that would give more context. Maybe someone on here has the article and can elaborate.


I did a little searching, seems that this started as a poster at a meeting, FWIW.
Southeast Deer Study Group 56
Authors: Bonner L. Powell, Lindsey M. Phillips, Craig HarperUniversity of Tennessee, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Abstract: Mowing perennial food plots regularly through the growing season is commonly recommended to increase nutritional quality and attractiveness for white-tailed deer. We collected biomass (lbs/ac), nutritional (percent crude protein [CP], phosphorus [P], and calcium [Ca]), and digestibility (percent acid detergent fiber [ADF]) data on alfalfa (2018, 2019) and red clover (2018, 2019) to determine effects of mowing. On average, mowing reduced biomass of alfalfa by 23% and red clover by 30%. Mowing did not increase the nutritional quality of the two forages, though CP and P were slightly greater numerically 1 – 3 weeks after the first mowing event in young plant material. Mowing had no effect on ADF or Ca among the forages. Nutritional quality of young plant material of both forages, mowed or not mowed, approached or exceeded the maximum requirement of a doe with twin fawns. Our data suggest mowing red clover and alfalfa food plots throughout the growing season provides little, if any, benefit with regard to nutritional quality or digestibility for deer. We recommend mowing perennial forages once in late summer and perhaps as necessary during the growing season to reduce weed competition, but presence of some naturally occurring forbs complement planted forages by providing additional nutrition and structure that can make the plot more attractive to deer.

In regards to "forbs", I noticed that the deer have been absolutely pounding the lambsquarter lately, nothing but stems left.


Staff member
I’ll cherry pick one major part there…. “Alfalfa & red clover”…. Those do not spread by stolons like white clovers do. When u put a white clover in ur mix & it grows well & is mowed…. It aggressively chokes out other weeds & the stolons create a fibrous barrier.

Mowing produces tender new growth, keeps a legume fixing more N & chokes out most broadleaves & other weeds. The only scenario I can think of where mowing is bad & where weeds get in…. Hot dry part of summer &/or mowing it very short. Can kill plants &/or create environment where summer weeds can germinate & get the sun needed to blow up.

*interesting on lambsquarter!! I’ve never seen them touch it but I need to look. I see it often where they pound pigweed & waterhemp. So that would be nice. Love to see deer start mowing down thistles, marestail, etc!!!! ;).
& yes- I love many natural growing forbs!!!! Folks, including myself, have no clue how many different plants a deer eats & loves. Stuff that’s packed with benefits & nutrition.
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