Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by Mennoniteman, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
    6a
    After reading and researching about sweet clovers I decided to experiment with yellow blossom sweet clover and overseeded a field that had a nice stand of well-established ladino clover growing for several years. I like the soil building properties, and the wildlife benefits, but now I'm almost wondering if I made a mistake in introducing it, since it's taken off like an invasive species.
    Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover.jpg
    Here's an introduction I pulled off Smith Seed Services website;
    Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover
    The plant looks like alfalfa and puts out a distinct sweet aroma, the source is coumarin, used to develop the anti-coagulant drug ‘warfarin’. Since these anti-coagulant properties were found to be detrimental to grazing livestock modern sweetclover varieties have been bred to be low in coumarin. Yellow blossom sweetclover persists better in pastures and tolerate adverse conditions better than white varieties. Sweetclover can produce and deposit a high percentage of hard seeds that persist in the soil for many years. This accounts for its consistent volunteering in many areas.
    Drought tolerant and winter hardy.
    Yellow blossom is one of the most drought-tolerant of forage legumes, and is quite winter-hardy. In temperate climates with mild summers it can survive and thrive through a second year of production. Sweetclovers grows where alfalfa, red clover and white clover fail, such as on clay pan soils or on sands and tolerates low fertility and wet conditions. Yellow blossom prefers non-acid soil (pH above 6.0).
    This plant goes deep.
    While not a huge forage producer (under 3 tons/acre), yellow blossom sweet clover has a valuable taproot growth that penetrates deep down in soil up to eight feet. This deep tap root and root branches give sweetclover a greater ability than most other cover crops in extracting potassium, phosphorus and other soil nutrients from insoluble minerals. Root branches take in minerals from seldom-disturbed soil horizons, nutrients that become available as the tops and roots decompose.
    Nitrogen producer.
    Yellow blossom sweetclover contributes up to 275 lbs. N/A and adding valuable organic matter. National Academy of Sciences values for sweetclover: crude protein 15%; digestible protein 10.2%.

    Here's a video clip of mowing my Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover/ Ladino mix, the Sweet Clover seems to be taking over the field, although the Ladino is still going strong in the understory, it'll be interesting to see who wins out here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  2. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    Since Sweet Clover has blood thinning properties there should be better blood trails for tracking deer...
    Sweet Clover.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  3. wsucoug

    wsucoug Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    I am very familiar with yellow sweet clover. It is literally everywhere around here. It is very often used to reclaim disturbed surfaces like logging rds, rights of way, excavation sites, ect. It is ridiculously drought and heat tolerant and puts up a lot of tonnage. On the flip side it gets real stemmy and its usually pretty low on the deer preference list. The deer usually don't eat it till late fall before our moisture comes back or they eat it early winter as it is standing tonnage.

    Here is some growing along my driveway.
    [​IMG]
    edit: i am having a hell of a time inserting an image. Is there s size limit?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  4. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I tried to get sweet clover going in my couples acres of grass up along the road. I had no luck, just too much duff from old grass. I don't think the seed ever touched soil. And least not so far.

    We've got it big time where I live, and it seems to make fantastic cover and bug habitat. I don't know about putting it in a plot though.
     
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  5. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    I think sweet clover might be getting overlooked as a prime soil builder.
     
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  6. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I have calcareous soil - exactly the opposite of most folks - 7.5 pH. Sweet clover does very well on my ground, when a lot of plants dont. Mine sweet clover was already here when I bought the place - more white than yellow. I have several bee hives - so the sweet clover is welcome. Deer do eat it. They also fawn in it. And the bees love it.
     
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  7. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    The standability of it in fall is really what drew me to it. Check out this video.

     
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  8. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Member

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    Very interesting! We grow our standard deer plots of alice and ladino clover for our bees; but our local "bee whisperer" has planted yellow sweet clover for some hives before and swears by the stuff for honey flow. Does it only flower every other year?
     
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  9. wsucoug

    wsucoug Member

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    I was actually thinking about this last night for a bit. Based on how much tonnage guys are putting up for throw and mow thatch, and also the nitrogen credit, I think it is a good idea. I would say as a spring/summer food source your not going to get much preference out of it, but the plant will likely help your soil. I would think you would want to mow prior to it setting seeds as I know it can reseed itself.
     
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  10. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    We get flowers every year on the stuff we planted, but the second year it flowers much heavier. it seems that there's several varieties, with some being annual and some biennial.
    I'm planning to control it by mowing, it seems like it can't tolerate being mowed like white clovers, and that keeps it from totally taking over. For deer food plots the soilbuilding element should be attractive, since this stuff is so easy to grow. It seems to do very well in a mix with red and Ladino clover, each one of these having slightly different properties gives something for all seasons and growing conditions. I'm still learning about managing this stuff, I'm going to keep experimenting.
     
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  11. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    Once established, there is always a crop that blooms every year. Hubam is an annual that blooms the first year.
     
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  12. Bowman

    Bowman Member

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    Location:
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    What are your seeding rates?
     
  13. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I think I overseeded with 5 lb to the acre in a field where I already had clover growing. And by the second year it's thick as hair on a dog. Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover is a good choice for someone who has a poor field that struggles to grow anything, it's just very aggressive.
     
  14. coolbrze0

    coolbrze0 Active Member

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    Interesting, how long is it supposed to live?
     
  15. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    I have yellow and white sweet clover growing in the same place since I bought my land - fifteen years ago.
     
  16. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    It's a biennial, it only lives 2 years, but it's very aggressive at reseeding itself. My biggest concern is that it's going to take over, not that it's going to die out.
     
  17. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Yellow Blossom sweet clover took over one of my fall rye seedings. Actually they coexisted very well. Of course, this volunteer sweet clover could easily been controlled with a timely application of 2,4-D had I wanted to. But, for wildlife, more food is usually better. I've had a lot of pollinators in this stuff, and have seen some fawns in there as well.

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
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  18. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    I bet you had bugs and wildlife galore in there! How big is that plot? I saw the sweet clover, the rye, red clover, fleabane, and ragweed. I saw one little bad weed, but we don't need to speak it's name here. That's a fine looking plot. I'd love to have that to work with.
     
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  19. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    The plot is a long narrow strip of about an acre. I like long narrow strips, that way I can watch the deer move from strip to strip, and it makes the tractor work easier with less turning around. You have a sharp eye for weeds, you probably looked at “Where’s Waldo” books when you were a youngster, those weeds that you see are at the end of the field where I stood to take the picture, through the middle it's relatively clean. I know I've had a marestail problem in the past by doing too many no-till soybean plantings in a row without addressing them, I discovered that you can't ignore marestail or it will take over your entire property.
     
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  20. John Ray

    John Ray New Member

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    Location:
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    What is the tall weed in the front left with the tiny daisy looking flowers?
     

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