So we called on the experts at Tecomate and sent them photos and the history of what we had done on this land. The bottom line is “lack of topsoil.” It didn’t occur to us that between the land being clear cut and pines planted and then having our plots bulldozed and groomed, we had basically removed what topsoil there was. So we were treating and planting into pure clay soil which just doesn’t have what the seeds need to establish a good root system or even to properly germinate.
However, all is not lost. We do have seed coming up and we are going to over-seed with some rye grass and red clover and cover that with a good batch of straw. Deer will still have something to attract them and to feed on and all of that will contribute to new topsoil. It may take a couple years to grow ideal plots but we have the base properly started.