Crimson clover is a fast-growing annual that provides early spring nitrogen, up to 200 lbs at 50% bloom. Its rapid growth makes it an excellent weed suppressor and an emergency forage supply that doesn’t cause bloat. In the south, crimson clover is fall planted with other cover crops for weed suppression, erosion control and quality spring forage. It can be spring seeded in the northern areas for weed control and nitrogen production. If planted in the spring or summer, it will bloom the same year and will not over-winter.
Crimson clover thrives in cool, moist conditions. It works well on any soil with the exception of heavy, wet clays. Inoculate for best N production. It is usually mixed with annual ryegrass, vetch, radishes, and small grains like oats. Nitrogen production requires an adequate supply of P and K. Crimson clover can be killed by spraying or incorporation. At bloom stage, it can also be killed by mowing or rolling with a stalk chopper.
For fall planting, drill at 15-18 lbs/A, 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep, or broadcast at 22-30 lbs/A. If broadcast, roll into a firm seedbed. Use 10-15 lbs/A in mixes. For spring planting, seed as soon as all danger of frost is past. Don’t plant too early in the fall if you want it to over-winter. If crimson clover goes to seed in the fall, it will not regrow in the spring.
- Fast establishing in the fall
- Moderately winter-hardy
- Early spring growth and blooming allows for early spring planting of cash crop
- Mixes well with small grains, ryegrass and other grasses and legumes
Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6