Sunflower Maintenance: 2015 Dove Season Prep

For those who enjoy dove hunting, now is the time to break from deer hunting for a moment and prep the sunflower fields for next season.

November 1 has come and gone, and I missed the opening day of gun season for deer in Texas. I guess that is how it goes when a person has a couple of boys that desire to play fall baseball and a tournament lands on the opening weekend of deer season. I don’t figure I lost too much deer hunting opportunity though, it was a fairly warm weekend and to say it was windy is an understatement.

From a family perspective it is dove, not deer hunting that tops our chart. Unless it is just really hot outside, dove hunting affords the opportunity to be meteorologically comfortable (i.e., can wear shorts), the shooting action is fast, and we don’t have to use our quiet voice. Those are good attributes for a hunt that involves kids. Plus, the length of dove season generally allows us to get in 10-15 good hunts….would be more if 6th grade math homework didn’t get in the way.

For those who enjoy dove hunting the way we do, now is the time to break from deer hunting for a moment and prep fields for next season. Established sunflower plants can be lightly disked into the soil anytime from late October through January. Planting of native sunflowers should occur in the late fall/early winter months as well. Shallow seed depth combined with cool temperatures and sufficient moisture is needed to break the dormancy of the seeds, thus allowing them to germinate come spring. If you wait till the spring to plant native sunflowers then the germination success rate goes way down. But there is an alternative.

If you just can’t bring yourself down from the deer blind never fear, opt for spring planting of Maximillian sunflowers. Bear in mind this variety of sunflowers will likely be grazed by deer and livestock if given the opportunity, therefore if possible protect it during the spring and summer from heavy use. Once established, shred down during the winter and let regrowth occur in the spring and summer.

Sunflowers are a great attractant for doves and with a little timely TLC each year they can be maintained at a minimum cost, which provides more money in your pocket for additional hunting adventures.


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