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when to plant white clover?

Posted by lifesblessings 6/7 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 3, 09 at 16:04

I'm trying to switch from grass in garden walkways to clover. I have purchased some white clover from the Stillwater Mill that is supposed to only get 6". Other research shows white clover to be walkable and mowable after its established. But the catalogs say to sow after the last frost. The farmer at the mill said between the end of February and first of April... Does anyone know? I have the area tilled and raked, so I'm ready anytime.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: when to plant white clover?

In our climate, you can plant it right now. It is a perennial that can take a lot of cold and it makes its best growth in springtime. It is not real fond of drought. Since it is a legume, you'll get a better stand if you treat the seed with an innoculant.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

There are a lot of white clovers sold around here. The ones that do best as ground covers are the low-growing ones. At our place, the white clover will take over a lot of the ground as long as it is mowed regularly, but not scalped. It is especially important to mow in September and early October. It also does better with good soil moisture.

The best time to plant is September IMO, but if you do it immediately now , I think it will do well.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

Scott,

I agree with Sept.-Oct. planting dates, but figured it wasn't an option at this point. : )

We used to have white clover here, but the heat and drought have thinned it out to where it barely exists anymore. The red clover seems more heat tolerant on our place. (I didn't plant it, so assume it is leftover from this place's former life as a farm.)

Dawn


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RE: when to plant white clover?

The white clovers will need quite a bit of moisture to really take over. Mine seem to do OK in normal years, but really take over if we get some summer rains and if I keep it mowed low on a regular basis, esp. in September. Whites can often stay under water for a couple of days and come through fine. They take over our heavy-soiled flood plain if I mow it three times per year. They do fine if I mow twice, and they will survive if I mow once as long as it is around Labor Day. The white clover also is dominant anywhere we have driving paths around the bottom land.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

I'm a little confused on the innoculation process. I have a small amount (5 lbs) of red clover seed and when I ask if I needed to buy innoculent at the feed store the clerk told me all she knew was that it was coated? Also I'm assuming it would be basically the same as planting white clover? I was hoping it would be a bee attractant and I remembered it fondly from when I was little at my mom's family's homeplace/farm. Can anybody set me straight?

Thanks,
Jill


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RE: when to plant white clover?

I can't say for sure, but I think the coating has the innoculant. If you have some clovers growing in the area you are planting it, you may be OK regardless.

The red clover is lovely, but I don't know how much it flowers the first year. It grows taller than white, so I suggest mowing it higher. It is also resistant to occasional excess water. To plant just make sure it is in contact with dirt. It does not need to be buried. It will need wet soil for a few days to get started.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

we need Dawn to chime in - she really knows this stuff! but I think the 'coating' is the innoculant from what I've studied so far... here they plant white clover (6") and "sweet clover" (tall stuff)... I think the red clover is sweet clover, maybe Dawn can help. if it is = I wouldn't recommend planting it anywhere you don't regularly mow!!! I got some in with some hay for my horses one year, its everywhere now. Gets tall and tough... Deep roots and thick stalks. If you don't mow it when its reasonably low, you won't be able to get a regular mower through it. But on the other hand, its very pretty mowed and really determined to grow even in a drought year with no watering.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

Jill,

I have red clover in a pasture of mixed prairie grasses and wildflowers down by the big pond. It is lovely in early spring, but it gets no irrigation, except for rainfall or runoff running down to the pond, so it looks really bad for most of the summer. If you plant it, put it where you can water it regularly or put it far, far away where you don't have to look at it looking all dry and pathetic if rain isn't falling. Our red clover doesn't seem to attract as many beneficials as the sweet clovers do. I'm not a real huge fan of red clover in the landscape--as Scott pointed out it gets really tall and looks sort of coarse.

The coating is most likely an innoculant. That tends to be the way they sell it in some places. We have some neighbors a couple of miles up the road who have red clover pastures for their horses and it looks great early in the year before it blooms. Once it has bloomed, though, it deteriorates pretty quickly and doesn't look so hot. Of course, it is not irrigated and little rain falls here most years, so the red clover probably is doing well just to survive.

You can get sweet clovers that have white or yellow flowers, but red clover is different from them.

Lifesblessings is right. The red clover can get about 3' tall and is coarse and rough-looking and invasive. Even when it is not getting ideal amounts of water, it doesn't die....but it can go dormant and look brown and ugly.

Jill, one of these days, try planting buckwheat to attract beneficials. It draws a lot of them. If you want to attract bees and other beneficial insects, there are lots of plants that you can plant for that purpose and they look better most of the summer than the red clover will. However, you get a WHOLE LOT more rain there than we get here in southcentral OK, so your clover might look better longer than ours does.

I like planting chamomile to attract beneficials. You can have it in pathways too. It will bloom early in the spring and then you can keep it mowed short and it almost forms a lawn. It will still bloom occasionally, but if you are keeping it cut short the blooms are low to the ground. And, as a bonus, it smells good when you walk on it.

Dawn


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RE: when to plant white clover?

I am a little confused now. The various white clovers are pretty easy to identify, but we may be getting some of the others mixed up. I plant Crimson Clover (Dixie) some years. It is a dark red and is an annual. It is gone by mid May here near Tulsa, leaving 6 to 12 inch dead stalks. I also have planted Red Clover (Cinnamon and Kenland). This one did not flower much at all the first year during growth.

I also have two native clovers. One is arrowleaf which I think is the one that gets really growthy and ugly late in the year. My areas of it get over 12" tall easily and are very thick. The flowers are pinkish and white. Lastly, I have a pinkish clover that I have thought to be a red clover that I mow regularly and it keeps coming back all year long as long as I don't mow very low. It is very pretty, but doesn't get very thick.

I may be wrong on what these native ones are. I will do some research.


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RE: when to plant white clover?

Thank you all for the information. I bought seed for Red Cinnamon -- I wanted Crimson, but they didn't have any left. I was planning on planting this weekend, but haven't yet. Depending on how this goes, I may have to try a white type next year. I had thought Scott mentioned the red attracted a ton of bees in a previous post, but I may be mistaken, plus I thought it would be pretty in bloom. I'm thinking I should have done a little more research, but like everything else I'm learning by trial and a lot of error.

Jill


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RE: when to plant white clover?

The red lasts all summer, but I don't know how much it will bloom the first year. The Crimson is amazing, but only for a few weeks and then it is dead. My bees were on the crimson.

Where I spilled Cinnamon Red seed on bare ground between pavers, etc., it made really big plants. If it has no competition and gets watered some, it will be beautiful.

Must.....now.....get.....sleep! Last basketball road trip done for this year. Is it a bad sign when I check the weather radars before going to bed, but feel a need to check the gardening board also?


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RE: when to plant white clover?

Scott,

I think it is smart to check the weather radars before you go to bed, especially when a cold front and its accompanying dry line are moving across the state.

As for feeling " a need to check the gardening board also", is there something wrong with that? LOL I always check it when I am awake very early or very late because the house is generally quieter then than it is the rest of the day.

Dawn


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