Clover maintenance advice


Active Member
Planted the following in September...

1/3 crimson, arrowleaf, ladino with heavy dose of oats. Crimson is gone, arrowleaf is about gone, and the ladino is doing great. The oats did their job as well, the herd has eaten every seed head available and the oats are "melting" away.

The weeds are encroaching as are the sweet gums, hickory, cherry etc (this is first year with a plot on this land and the trees survived the spray down and tillage from plot prep last fall.) However I am still currently optimistic.

Any advice on how to head into the fall? This is my third year plotting, however it's my first attempt at getting a perrinial clover to survive multiple years. I tend to get overwhelmed and make stupid quick decisions. I'm hesitant to do anything, seems it ends up doing better when I do nothing.

And just for the record, I have done absolutly nothing to this plot beyond proper planting.

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If you have good moisture, throw some fall plot seed into and mow it down to start it over. You'll be fine.
I agree with Mark. Your clover looks good, and mowing is going to take care of those trees. They may come back for a while, but if you continue to mow occasionally it will eventually take care of the trees and help the clover. Just don't let them get too big before you mow, because all the debris is going to smother your clover.

If the clover heads have gone to seed, I like to mow a little lower and scatter the seed. It they are still green, I like to mow a little higher and let the seed keep developing. Also watch for other weeds that come up and mow them before they go to seed. Near the center of that picture I see what looks like some kind of tall weed, but too far away to ID. Whatever it is, mow it and don't let it seed.

Eventually you will start getting grasses in the plot and that becomes a different problem. Mowing won't take care of some of those like it does a lot of other weeds. You then have to use something like Cleth or plow it up and start over if the grasses take over too bad. I like chicory in my clover because it takes up space that grasses would normally take up and it uses the nitrogen that the clover makes. I've noticed that my clover plots that have chicory are much less inclined to getting heavy grass.

You will eventually find that strategically timed mowing is your best friend with clover. Grasses like fescue take mowing well, and clover does too. Many other tall broadleaf weeds don't take mowing very well. So, you just need to watch what is going on and react accordingly. Forage chicory varieties take mowing fairly well for a tall broadleaf plant, and you can always overseed a little chicory (or anything else you want to sweeten the pot) in the fall like Mark suggested. You could even get some more oats going for the fall this year.

One final thing - clover is fairly tolerant of poor fertility and low PH, but it will always do much better if you take care of issues like that.

Good luck.
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As said ph is not critical w clover but the better it is adjusted the better a small plot. Put down lime and 0-20-20 fert this fall. Overseed early sept w WR and clover. The rye will help scavenge excess N and provide food for deer into spring and weed control. Keep trash mowed and it should last long time. Good luck.

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I'm in middle Georgia and I don't mow any more. I use a weed wiper with a 50/50 solution of glyphosate and water, set just a little above the top of the clover. Kills the grass and tall broad leaf weeds and puts a hurt on small saplings. My clover plots are not perfect, but based on your pics above, yours will clean up nicely, in late April or early May. If you think that the fawns are out of your plots, you can always do it in the cool of the morning, now.

Having a nice thick stand of clover helps.
I agree with the mowing, but I may be a little selective on what trees I mow down. If they are a species the deer will browse I would consider leaving them as long as they are in the reach of the deer. The deer will also like the ground level cover aspect they provide. Once they start to get too big, cut them off at a foot or two off the ground when dormant and they will start all over again. Perennial white clover will tolerate shade just about as good as anything I am aware of once it's established. You can even throw and mow like was suggested either additional clover varieties or even some fall cereal grains or brassica as well if you want. Something I have started doing is only mowing trouble areas. Don't mow the entire plot, yes this leaves some weeds and the like, but deer eat many of those weeds as well.
Ditto. Mow it, fertilize with 0-30-30 or 6-24-24 mid august. Overseed more clover. Add cover crop in early oct, shoot booner in november. At least that's the plan...
To original poster,

How does clover do in your region?

All clovers in east texas act more like reseeding annuals due to summer heat

Crimson and arrow leaf work welling this regard

To all those who have replied, the weather this weekend is going to be 80 on Saturday and 82 on Sunday. And we're supposed to be getting rain on Friday. If it stays that way do you recommend I mow this weekend?

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Tree Daddy, a few of my local Buddies and a few of the food plotters on this forum who are very close to me geographically have been able to successfully grow perennial Clover for many years. I'm convinced I can do it too.

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^^^^^ This time year, mow the trash but not the clover, whatever height that requires. Do not stress that clover mowing until cool weathers of late summer/fall and then, no more than one third its growth at mowing and like said, 8 inches or so is good.
I grow perennial clover, but in the hot summer I either have to irrigate it or it shrivels up to nothing. It always bounces back in the fall and spring, but for two or three months it's useless. That said, there is nothing I have grown that deer like better than Whitetail Institute clover. They come in droves to a good clover plot. To be fair, I've not tried many other brands, or bought it from a feed store. Considering how long it lasts, I don't find it too expensive even though it's the dreaded buck-on-bag variety. :)

I hate to sound like a shill for WINA, but their Extreme has done fairly well for me in sandy soil. The only thing I don't like about it is that I can't spray for weeds because it will kill some of the crop. I guess I need to try some annual clovers and see if they work for me.
I think the answer is highly specific to your region and soil moisture. Where we are, it’s easy to get perennial clover to thrive given our heavy dews and regular rainfall. Because I don’t have to worry about summer dormancy, I mow often enough to keep weeds at bay, and encourage flowering/seeding ( a 2-4 times a season). I can frequently get white clovers to flower by timed mowing. If well timed, I’m starting to believe I can extend plots for years, and the deer love the new growth after mowing.
We're in our extended period of heat down here and the summers are typically dry. My Durana is already thinking about going dormant, but my medium red, and ladino are still producing. For me, mowing short right now will do more harm than good. It will cut away any tender top growth, that may not come back till September, leaving the deer in a summer stress period. You can see that the deer are in your plots right now, eating where they see fit. Letting more light get to the ground will spur more weeds and grasses.

Mowing tall to cut the small tree's back, somewhat will help. Spending an hour, in the cool of the morning, to cut the tree's back with a hoe or hatchet, might do the most good. Dobbing/spraying the cut stems with some glyphosate (with a small squirt bottle) will likely make sure they don't return next year. If you have 10 acres to do ..... I understand your reluctance. If you have 2 acres, it really won't take you that long.

Again, I don't mow my clovers any more and only use a weed wiper. This is one of my annual plots and the deer are still in there chowing down. Tender top growth is still being produced and I won't do anything with these plots, in middle Georgia, till late September.

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Some years there is nothing you can do to keep clover from going dormant.I have used the brown and down time to spray and kill off the competition. Anybody who thinks you can just plant clover and forget it is nuts. IMHO , annuals are much less trouble. If you want nice clover, you got to put in the time and $$$$. To each his own.
I'm so tired of starting over at one of the most critical times of the year....september. I have read LC's threads around 4 times now and I really admire his plan. since i plan on using this plot to roll into an LC mix, I think I'm going to experiment.

1/3 will get nothing, 1/3 will be mowed, 1/3.....well I don't know yet.