How to Start Crimson Clover from Seeds
Crimson Clover Establishment - Cropland & Lawn Care
Crimson clover can tolerate almost any soil type, but prefers loam soils with good drainage. Avoid using it on poorly drained soils, however, due to potential disease problems. Inoculate the seed with Rhizobium inoculant for true clovers when planting in a field in which a nodulated true clover has not been grown in the last three years. Seed germination and seedling survival require cool, but not cold, night temperatures (less than 60"F) and sufficient soil moisture. As with many cover crops, crimson clover seed germinates better and requires lower seeding rates when drilled than when broadcast. Crimson seed should be planted at a depth of 0.25- to 0.5-inch. If broadcasting crimson seed, disk it lightly to incorporate. Plant at a rate of 12-20 lbs/A, using the lower rate in cool soils and the higher rate in warmer soils. Planting crimson with a grass can help prevent some winter kill. In this case, 15 lb/A of crimson seed is sufficient, along with 1.5 to 2 bu/A of a cereal (oats, barley, wheat), or 18-25 lb/A of annual ryegrass seed.
Sources: Kellogg Biological Station Cover Crops Research Program; Northeast Cover Crop Handbook, Marianne Sarrantonio, 1994, Rodale Institute; Managing Cover Crops Profitably, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, USDA.
Summary for readers: To sprout, crimson clover needs
- Well-drained & moist soil.
- Cool nights. Don’t sow in mid-summer when the night temperature is over 15°C/60°
- Seed should be planted at a depth of 0.25- to 0.5-inch (5 to 10mm).
Note: Broadcasting-sow means scattering seeds over a relatively large area. Drilling-sow means placing seeds at precise spacing and depth. Sow more seeds if the broadcasting-sow method is chosen.
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