Trifolium pratense Short-lived perennial legume. Up to 24". This 2001 release from the KY Ag Experiment Station comes enthusiastically recommended for hay by Henry Perkins of Bull Ridge Farm in Albion, ME. A high-yielding red hay clover with glabrous stems for fast dry-down, excellent winter hardiness and persistence. Red clover is better-suited than alfalfa to acidic or wet soils. Seed at 15-20#/acre alone, 8-10#/acre in mixes, ½#/1000 sq ft.
As perennial hay: Freedom lacks the pubescence (little hairs) found on the stems of most clovers, enabling much faster drying and reducing dustiness in the final product. In field trials, mechanically conditioned Freedom had a drying rate of 22.5% per hour during the first day, compared to 17.7% per hour in the control variety.
Seed coated with Barenbrug Nature Jacket C® Organic Legume inoculant, an OMRI-Listed® coating. Click here for OMRI certificate. ②
The Trifolium genus is home to more than 300 species, most of which are native to the northern hemisphere (a few pop up in Africa and South America). Clover is versatile, performs well in Maine’s cool humid climate and acidic soils, fixes atmospheric nitrogen, and attracts pollinators—what more could you ask for? The taller red clovers are better hay plants, as they have a more erect habit and greater biomass, and they dry more easily. Red clover blossoms, fresh or dried, make one of our favorite teas. White clovers perform better in pastures and lawns, as they tolerate close mowing (or nibbling) and heavy traffic. No matter what kind of clover you choose, be sure to plant plenty to increase your chances of finding those lucky four-lobed specimens: a survey of approximately 7 million clovers found that 1 in 5,000 clover leaves exhibit this trait!
Clover may be planted from late winter through early fall. Seedlings are slow to establish and will benefit from a nurse crop of oats. If a crop of annual weeds comes up with your clover, all is not lost: keep the plot regularly mowed and by midseason the clover will have outcompeted the weeds. Most clovers are pre-inoculated and clay-coated with an OMRI-approved coating.