Clover Planting Guide


Step-by-step planting guide

1. Select planting site and test soil to determine soil pH and any nutrient deficiencies.  If soil pH is lower than 6.0, test 6 months before planting to allow time for the applied lime to raise soil pH.

2. Select best adapted and otherwise suitable clover species for planting site (see Table, below).

3. Check with seed retailer at least 2 weeks before desired planting date in case selected clover species or inoculant are not in stock.

4.  If planting on a disked seedbed, apply phosphorus, potassium, and necessary minor nutrients before final land preparation.  If planting on lightly disked or undisturbed sod, delay fertilization until crop is up and has at least one leaf.

5. If coated preinoculated seed is purchased, store in a cool, shaded area until planting.  If uncoated seed is purchased, inoculate seed within 24 hours of planting (see Clover Seed Inoculation, below) and store in cool, shaded area until planting.  Hot temperatures will kill the Rhizobium bacteria on the seed.

6. Do not apply nitrogen fertilizer if clover is planted alone.  Planting annual ryegrass with the clover provides earlier grazing and reduces clover bloat potential.  Apply 60 to 70 lb nitrogen/acre in December to ryegrass-clover mixtures.

7. Grazing can begin when pasture is 4 to 6 inches tall. This will be early March if clover is planted alone, or early February if clover is mixed with annual ryegrass.

Clover Species Selection Table
Clover Species Preferred Soil Characteristics Plant Characteristics Seeding
pH Texture Drainage Maturity Bloat Potential Reseeding Potential Cold Tolerance
Arrowleaf 6.0-7.0 sandy  loam good late low high good 8-10
Ball 6.5-8.5 loam, clay fair late medium high good 2-3
Berseem 6.5-8.5 loam, clay poor late low low poor 12-16
Crimson 6.0-7.0 sandy loam,  clay good early medium low good 16-20
Persian 6.0-8.0 loam, clay poor medium high medium fair 6-8
Red 6.5-8.0 loam, clay good late/biennial low low good 10-12
Rose (Overton R18) 6.0-8.0 sand, loam, clay good early-late low high good 12-16
Subterranean subterranean sp.  (Karridale, Denmark) brachycalycinum sp.
(Clare,  Nuba)
6.0-7.3 7.0-8.0 loam, clay loam, clay fair fair early-late medium medium medium low low fair poor 16-20 16-20
White 6.0-7.5 loam, clay poor late medium high good 3-4