How to reduce grasses in clover plots.


So many people post how they have grass issues in their clover plots. Here is my talking points and tips to reduce that.

1) Planting clovers on soils with a pH below 6.0. You might see some initial germination but your growth will stunt and you won't see a vigorous thick stand.

2) Not using enough fertilizer. So many people just put an initial application of fertilizer down but they overlook the important early fall application of potassium that is needed. A huge amount of potassium is mined from the soil by legumes. A good indicator of nutrient use of forages is looking at the nutrient content of those forages. Clovers and alfalfa run 2-3% potassium. You need 200-300 units of potassium every year on your legumes.

3) planting UNINOCULATED clovers. How many of you know if the legumes in the seed your buying is inoculated. When i ask this question in person, i typically get the same kind of look from people. Ask your supplier, don't assume. You need all of your legumes to be inoculated with the CORRECT inoculant.

4) Not having enough PURE LIVE SEED spread or drilled on the plot. Know the species your planting and know the correct seeding rate. If your broadcasting instead of drilling, you want 20-30% higher seeding rate than if your drilling. If your using coated seeds, look to see if 35-50% of the seed is coated. I always tell people to plant at least 20% higher if your using coated seeds.

5) Not planting a companion crop. In the mass builder mix i sell, i use berseem clover. Berseem is fast growing and helps keep weeds at bay. Also the deer prefer it over many forages and they will consume berseem first, allowing the slower growing clovers time to establish. Some people use oats or pea/oat blend as a nurse crop.

6) Poor seed to soil contact. I always talk about a first hand account of this out on Grandpa Ray's farm. My uncle didn't beat a rain and didn't roll some of an experimental plot for me. I got 1/2 it done myself and there was very little weed pressure and a more vigorous growth on the rolled plot. The plot unrolled had much slower germination and as a result, weed issues that i had to deal with.

7) Not overseeding every year. Most farmers in the grazing community know the value of frost seeding or spinning seed every year to fill in the thinning spots in a field. You might only need