Imperial Whitetail Fusion A match made in heaven

By Whitetail Institute Staff

If you’re one of the thousands of Chicory Plus fans, then you already know what an outstanding performer it is. And you also know that it owes its reputation to the complementary nature of its perennial components, Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 Perennial Forage Chicory. This year, Chicory Plus has been renamed “Imperial Whitetail Fusion” for several reasons. As you’ll see, you can be sure that Fusion offers all the performance of Chicory Plus, and more!

What’s in a name? Why change the name? The main reason is to remove the potential for misunderstanding exactly what’s in it. Specifically, some customers assumed that Chicory Plus consisted mostly of chicory, when in fact Chicory Plus was predominantly Imperial Whitetail Clover with a smaller amount of WINA-100 chicory added. That’s because Whitetail Institute testing has shown that for optimum performance, a clover/chicory mix should contain more clover seed than chicory seed. The main reason is the different seeding rates when planting Imperial Whitetail Clover or WINA-100 chicory alone — eight pounds per acre for Imperial Whitetail Clover, and three pounds for WINA- 100 chicory.

Why change the name to “Fusion?” The Whitetail Institute decided on the name “Fusion” because it’s a perfect description of the product. If you look up the word “Fusion” in the dictionary, you’ll find that it means the process of uniting different things into a single whole, “as if by melting together.” That’s more than just putting different components in the same bag. For true fusion to occur, the components must be carefully selected to maximize performance as if they have been “melted together.” And that’s exactly what Imperial Whitetail Fusion is.

Why Change The Name to “Fusion” Now? Because as good as Chicory Plus was, Fusion is even better, and a big reason is that it contains the next generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover, which was introduced after research, development and testing was completed on it last year. (Editor’s note: You can read more about the latest generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover in Whitetail News, Volume 25, No. 1 at Over six years, The Whitetail Institute’s Director of Forage Research, Dr. Wayne Hanna, worked diligently to take Imperial Whitetail Clover to the next level. He obtained clover germ plasms from colleagues in the scientific community as well as stem cuttings from clover plants that had proven themselves winners in natural selection. He grew the stem cuttings in small test plots and regularly checked them over the next two or three years to determine which varieties performed the best. He then crossed those varieties with the aid of bees and continued selection of the offspring that exhibited the best attractiveness, vigor, and tolerance of heat, drought and cold. As a result of Dr. Hanna’s efforts, the new generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover exceeds even the Whitetail Institute’s demanding standards. The addition of the new generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover as a backbone perennial made the name change from Chicory Plus to Fusion even timelier. Next, we’ll take a look at these key performance categories, and why Fusion excels in all of them.

The Important Part: Performance You’ve probably heard the term “a match made in heaven” before. In the context of foodplot plantings for deer, Fusion could very well be exactly that. Like most Whitetail Institute foodplot products, Fusion is a carefully assembled blend of complementary forage components that are designed and tested to work together to maximize stand performance. Fusion is a prime example of how well that can work (if it’s done the way Whitetail Institute does it: through exhaustive research, development and real-world testing). In the case of Fusion, the two backbone perennial components are the new Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 perennial forage chicory. Let’s look at how they complement each other to maximize overall stand performance.

 Attractiveness. As I mentioned earlier, the new generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover has proven itself extremely attractive. The combination of Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 chicory in Fusion also provides deer with a variety of different forages within the same plot, raising overall stand attractiveness even further.

Increased Nutritional Content. The previous generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover was extremely nutritious, as is WINA-100 chicory, which provides up to a whopping 44 percent protein. Fusion, though, provides even more protein than Chicory Plus with an increased amount of WINA-100 Chicory.

Enhanced Drought Tolerance. As I also mentioned, the new generation of Imperial Whitetail Clover is even more drought tolerant than earlier versions. And, when you consider that WINA-100 chicory can grow roots as deep as three feet into the soil, you can understand why Fusion’s drought tolerance is so impressive.

Reduced fertilizer costs over planting Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 chicory separately. Both Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 chicory should be planted in seedbeds with optimum levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Since Imperial Whitetail Clover is a nitrogen-fixing legume, only about 25 pounds of Nitrogen needs to be added at planting just to get the stand going. After that, the clover plants make enough nitrogen on their own. Since chicory isn’t a nitrogen fixer, more nitrogen should be added at planting — about 80 pounds of nitrogen should be added at planting, and another 35 pounds should be added 30-45 days after planting. The combination of Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA-100 chicory in Fusion makes the second nitrogen fertilization unnecessary, since the clover will produce enough nitrogen for itself and the chicory. Fusion is available in 1/2-acre bags (3.15 lbs.) and 1.5-acre bags (9.25 lbs.). Good soils that hold moisture or soils that are slightly well drained are optimum. Soil pH should be “neutral” (6.5-7.5) at planting. The Whitetail Institute’s recommended planting dates, and planting and maintenance instructions, are provided on the back of the product bags as well as at If you have any questions about FUSION, the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants are standing by to help. Give them a call at (800) 688-3030. The call and the service are free.