Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Diploid
Red Clover is a fast growing perennial of the legume family and has excellent qualities which have made it invaluable to sustainable farming systems. It fixes very large amounts of nitrogen from the air, improves soils with its penetrating tap root and provides excellent high protein fodder rich in protein and minerals. It is often grown with ryegrasses to create high yielding silage leys. Like many clovers, red clover works well as a green manure or cover crop. Once established, the vigour of red clover allows it to suppress weeds and create a lot of bulky foliage. When dug back in, the combination of all that organic matter and decaying root system will improve the soil quality greatly and is especially good for increasing the water holding capacity of ligher soils.
- Possibly the legume with highest N fixation - up to 200kg per hectare in a year.
- Tap root penetrates soil layers to improve soil structure whilst bringing up minerals.
- Very vigorous once established. Will suppress weeds and recovers quickly from cutting.
- Produces large amount of bulky foliage which makes high protein and mineral rich animal fodder or a potent soil improver when incorporated back into the soil as a green manure.
- Bees and beneficial insects love the flowers but you may want to cut down or dig in the plants before they set seed.
Growing Red CloverSeeding Rate: Agriculture - 8-9 kg/acre 20-22 kg/ha Horticulture - 1kg covers 200-400m²Sowing: April to September. Seed is small so should be broadcast or shallow drilled. The ground should be rolled afterwards to get good soil contact with seed.Persistence: Perennial. 2-4 years. Frost hardy and drought resistant.Soil Preference: Not fussy about soil type but requries decent fertility (Index 3 for P & K) and a pH of 6 to 6.5 to perform well.
Click HERE to read a Teagasc guide to Red Clover.