Teaweed, Sweet Tea for Deer, Sida Acuta

I swear if you get stuck you could pull your truck out with this stuff.
A neighbor once called me, Rusty I’ve got a problem. I’ve got a food plot that is full of some kinda super weed, I’ve sprayed it several times with gly, I’ve plowed it, I’ve burned it, I even poured diesel fuel on some of it, I’ve tried to pull it up but I can’t!!
I cannot get rid of it. HELP!!!

So like any good neighbor (and mega foodplot nerd) would do, I headed over to his place on my buggy to check out this super weed.

When I arrived I pulled up to the plot in question. There, sure enough was a sad looking mono-culture plot of ironweed. Aka sida acuta, aka sweet tea for deer. His repeated, and admittedly high, off label, concentrations of roundup had wiped out all other signs of plant life on this plot. There was not another glimmer of green in the plot. Complete nuclear level destruction of all plant matter. The ground around the ironweed was bare dirt! The only thing hanging on was a decent stand of badly injured, curled, yellowed, nearly dying ironweed.

What my neighbor didn’t know, and most people don’t know, is that ironwood is a quite preferred browse for whitetail deer. In addition it’s protein content is absolutely through the roof, over 25% in many cases, even when not fertilized. For gods sake good alfalfa only has 20% protein.

So he was trying, VERY HARD, and spending considerable time, money and effort to kill the 30% protein ironweed in order to plant grain sorghum. Which has a measly 7% protein and only provides food for a couple of weeks each year for the deer.

I told him the deal, stop spraying it, see if it recovers, fertilize it, and viola you have a super high protein (better than alfalfa, as good as most clover) spring, summer and fall food plot with super high protein content, with zero effort. Broadcast some austrian winter peas in it in sept or oct to make the plot perform double duty and be a quality winter food source as well.

A year later he sent a text telling me to swing by and check out the plot. When I arrived I was kinda shocked honestly… The mono-culture ironweed plot was lush green with active new and old browse sign. The deer were absolutely hammering the plot, and had been hammering it for some time, and it was standing up well to the browse. The plot was waist high with a giant deer bed in the middle of it. An old nanny doe had claimed the spot for her own . Success sure does taste good!