- Latin Name: Trifolium Pratense
- Season: Perennial
- USDA Zones: 3 - 9
- Environment: Full sun
- Height: 24 inches
- Bloom Color: Red
Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) - Red clover seeds are an important forage legume grown widely in the temperate regions throughout the U.S. extending from the Northeast through the Midwest to eastern North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas and into the upper South. Red clover is becoming increasingly important in the Deep South where it is used as a winter annual. It is also grown in many areas from bulk clover seeds in the Pacific Northwest and other regions of the U.S. It is considered to be a short-lived perennial clover, meaning it typically lasts 3 - 5 years; however, it will often persist beyond this due to self-seeding.
Inoculated Seed - We now offer red clover seed that has been coated with an inoculant for better establishment. NITRO-COAT rhizobium strains are specifically chosen for each seed type. A key to any successful establishment and early seed development is moisture. NITRO-COAT is naturally water absorbent and helps attract soil moisture to the seed, getting your stand established quickly. This coating process which Outsidepride utilizes, assures that only the top-performing and crop-specific rhizobia will be applied to ensure your clovers reach maximum nodulation, stand establishment, and yield potential. The weight of the clover seeds will contain approximately 34% coating material that contains the inoculant and water holding material for better establishment and viability of the seed. There is no difference in the seeding rates between the coated and raw seed due to the increased germination and viability of the bulk clover seeds that are coated and inoculated.
Red clover is adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions, soil types, fertility levels, use patterns and management. It is easy to establish, red clover seeds establish vigorously and is a very good clover to fixate nitrogen out of the atmosphere and in to the soil. Red clover is relatively easy to remain free of disease and pests. For this reason, red clover has many uses and is often used as part of a crop rotation program. Although red clover seed is tolerant of a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, it prefers rather mild conditions rather than hot climates and prefers locations where rainfall or irrigation are consistent throughout the year.
Red clover is most often grown in association with cool season grasses but can be grown alone or with certain warm season perennial grasses. It can be used for pasture, hay, or silage, and is an excellent soil improvement crop. When grown where it is well-adapted, the yield of red clover seed is usually higher than that of any other clover. In addition, it has a longer growing season than any other clover grown in the United States.
Red Clover - Soils & Fertility
Red clover seeds grow best on medium to well drained soils with adequate levels of fertility. To ensure your red clover seed gets off to a good start, it is worth the money to invest in a good soil test so you can find out the soil pH, phosphorus and potassium levels. Red clover seeds yields better and stands last longer when grown on soils with at least medium levels of phosphorus and potassium. A pH of 6.2-6.5 is usually recommended for excellent yields and stand persistence. In some states certain minor elements are recommended. You can contact your county extension agency to find out the best soil environment for your red clover seed. Nitrogen is not recommended when seeding red clover into grass. Nitrogen will stimulate the grass, thus providing more competition for the red clover seedlings during establishment.
Red Clover - Management
Adequate amounts of lime, nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and minor elements are needed to produce high yields of red clover and to maintain desirable stands. Nitrogen is supplied by nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nodules of properly inoculated red clover. Except for red clover seed production and in certain geographic locations, minor elements are usually supplied in adequate quantities by the soil. In general, lime, phosphorus, and potassium are the critical elements for red clover-grass production. Red clover seeds require a higher pH, as well as more phosphorus and potassium than most grasses. A soil test should be used as a guide in determining the amounts of fertilizer and lime needed as mentioned above.
Red Clover - Seed Planting
Plant red clover seeds at 1/2 lb per 1,000 square feet or 8 to 16 lbs per acre. Ideal seeding depth is approximately 1/4 inch, but error on the side of being shallow rather than too deep. Good seed-soil contact helps ensure establishment. Most red clover is seeded in late winter to early spring in the northern and central parts of the red clover belt. Autumn plantings are preferred in the Lower South.