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Clover Questions

Posted by Nitesteamer z4WI (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 20, 04 at 4:13

My property has 2 small meadows on it. The first is about 1 acre and I want to plant it so as to primarily attract deer. The other 3 acre meadow has a nice mix of what looks to be native plants with lots of seeds and pods on last years growth.

john MO mentioned "purple prarie clover" as a good choice of clover for the midwest.

1 acre meadow: If I would hand sow this whole field with purple clover seed, on top of the snow, would it "take" or would I be wasting money and time? Soil has probably not been turned in a long time and I don't have a tractor at this time.

3 acre meadow: Appears to be a beatiful meadow and I would like to keep it as native as possible. Would it make sense to "spot plant" purple prarie clover in this field? Will the clover take over? (Looks like there might be a little too much goldenrod at this time)

Follow-Up Postings:

If you want deer...

You might want to think about planting trees or shrubs, deer are "browsers", they eat the young woody-stemed shoots that the trees and shrubs grow.
Elk are grazers, they eat grass and plants and probably would love the clover if you planted it.

Sorry, I have no idea about how to plant the clover. I tried planting it once and the sun ate it.

RE: Clover Questions

Purple prairie "clover" is not a clover and I don't believe it will predominate in the meadow. Lawn clover is something you DON'T want in a native meadow (or flower bed), it's invasive.
My method would be to (if you want) germinate plants and grow in well-drained pots for the first year, then in fall, spot plant them in well-drained areas. They don't like poor drainage :)

RE: Clover Questions

I would encourage you planting a diversity of natives, not just picking one or two species as 'deer food'. And check out native plant nurseries (Wisconsin has lots of good ones) for plants that are appropriate for your area and that will attract wildlife.

I agree with dbarron, you won't have much success seeding into an existing meadow. However, you can start lots of native plants from seed, then transplant them into your meadows. If you manage your meadows appropriately (with mowing and/or burning), these plants will have a chance to seed themselves into you meadow if they find conditions to their liking.

Peter is right that deer are not grazers, but they will take advantage of nutritious forbs. I planted a number of potted purple and white prairie clovers into a butterfly garden at a local nature center, and they got grazed pretty hard the first year (I assume by deer, though I'm not sure). In successive years they have done pretty well. They will not form an aggressive cover like the non-native clovers.

RE: Clover Questions

Thanks for the responses. It makes sense to take my time, LEARN, and then plant various species.

Looking forward to my first Wild One's meeting tonite!


RE: Clover Questions

I do not know how you define grazers and browsers. But deer feed off of plants growing
the ground more often than they do on shrubs and trees. Its not by choice that they eat trees and
shrubs-which have low nutritional quality but because the forbs are in short supple. Deer will
miles in a single day to find good forbs to eat and eat them right to the ground.

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