Clover Loves S & M , or maybe, Fifty Shades of Green


Well-Known Member
I've suggested on threads before that clovers, if given the chance will make their own plot. I've seen how paths made by foot, ATV, or tractor, suddenly show a great growth of Clover, especially the whites, without any real effort by man. So an easy plot to make. The more you abuse Whites, I swear, the better they grow. Spray them with gly, they come back with a vengence. Mow them short, just put on more growth. Run over them repeatedly and they just get thicker.
So here is my premise. I simply initiate a chose spot/field, maybe or maybe not spread some clover seed one fall, then abuse it. How? Most areas were once browsed and trampled by herds of deer, elk, and buffalo, especially the latter. They ate almost to the dirt, as well as trampled the flora with their hooves carrying up to 2000# of weight. They would pass thru, do their "damage" and move on only to return in a period to rework their efforts.
So I've copied their work. Every 45-90 days, I allow my herd/tractor to browse/mow very close. IN addition, the tractor is packing with its hooves/tires its 6000# of beef/metal, destroying much of what is beneath it. And as you can see, what started as a fescue field 2 years ago, while still showing lots of grasses and weeds, the clovers, red and whites, have gradually taken over. And the deer don't care, nor do I. Cheap and easy, why make it hard. Abuse the crap out of the clovers, they will love it and thank you for it! Keep your options open.
Spot on! Once established, I swear the stuff thrives on abuse, especially being run over / trampled. My guess is it compacts the soil, preserving moisture and reducing competition from weed seeds trapped below.

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soil compaction can promote white clover by decreasing soil water percolation for those shallow fine roots...WC sometimes used on cropfield borders as 'controlled traffic' wheel support. Probably why many European and New Zealand intense pasture graziers have to replant ryegrass so often....beat the hell of out land until perennial ryegrass won't those areas perennial ryegrass and white clover is like PBJ...goes together well under their circumstance (continual abuse...insufficient recovery)! Well drained dry upland soil aint' so white clover friendly!

Bison moved across the prairies at stock densities/ac much higher than your tractor, but soil of the tallgrass prairies didn't become compacted....lest our forefathers wouldn't have seen tall grass prairie (majority of desirable native grasses don't tolerate repeated compaction)! Europeanstyle grazing destroyed the prairie plants and brought seed import of 'abuse tolerant' improved? forage species.

If there was a 'predator' making you keep the tractor moving, I bet observations would differ! Predators etc kept herds moving thus mitigate effects of close proximity dunging/fowling on keeping the herd moving. Key factor being how soon disturbance returns or how long the recovery period!