Mowing in a mixed plot of clover and chicory


Next season I am planning a 1 acre clover plot. I already have the land clear and ground turned and lime applied and will let it sit all winter.
My question is if I were to mix some chicory into that plot should I still mow it to invigorate the clover to grow?
How does that affect the chicory?
You will find some who say you should definitely definitely mow the chicory! The idea is to keep the plant out of the reproductive stage, to keep it vegetative and from bolting and flowering. it takes energy to produce flowers and seeds, energy that could be used to grow more vegetation. Same with clover. Some absolutely insist on mowing clover to keep in tender and yummy...or so the theory goes.

On the other hand, allowing the plants to flower and produce seeds can be a bonus. Why not take the free seed?

I struggle with the options. Either is beneficial in my way of thinking.

I mostly reserve mowing or using a string trimmer to keep the weeds from flowering and producing seed. Maybe that rational gets me the benefit of your reasoning!
Just my humble opinion, but I only mow when broad leaf weeds have overpowered my food plots. I do use herbicides (well, now just glyphosate, with a weed wiper), to control grasses and weeds and it suits my purpose.

Put up an exclusion cage and let that be your guide. A deer eats 7 pounds of food a day, of a mixed variety. Let's pretend that you have 10 deer that appear in your 1 acre clover plot daily, and each eat 2 lbs of clover. 2 x 10 x 7 = 140 lbs of food/week come off that plot and if they are in your plots, for 6 months of the year (they are in mine almost all year), that's 3360 lbs of food that they have taken off your plot. That's pretty close to what a good stand of Durana can yield in a season.

durana yield.JPG

To get a real healthy stand of clover, it too must go through it's life cycle. This cycle of budding, blossoming, setting seed, tillering and allowing it to develop mature seeds adds to the longevity of the plant and to the plot. I have 10 year old Durana plots. Why mow repeatedly, when all you are doing is preventing that plant from adding free seed onto the soil surface?

You can have a pretty clover plot with mowing and you can get deer to come to the plot, like they do when you till fresh soil, but I am just offering a different opinion on what I do. Also, some clover do not do well with multiple mowings, like Mammoth red, but most of use use medium red.

What's left of my Crimson, Ladino and medium red clover plots, from last year. We've had lots of rains, so I had to get the weed wiper out last weekend and chase them. The deer find the tender new growth that one of their own ate last week.

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LOL, and boy did I get off track ..... I wouldn't worry about the chicory. Again, let your exclusion cage tell the tale. If you go with a good perennial clover (like Durana Regal, Patriot, IWT, etc), it will out compete the chicory in a couple of years.
Two things, first my deer ignore chicory unless I let it grow a foot tall, so when planted with clovers I tend it that way. Second, white clovers do not need to be allowed to seed. Like the grass in your yard they propagate quite well by stolons, so mowing to 6-9 in can keep them a little more attractive to deer in my experience. Reds, and some others tend to grow via the stem and not stolons so much so letting them seed does help their propagation. Alfalfa, i mow a foot high when the deer don't keep it mowed for me which is rare.
Great Info! Thanks guys....Il get the seed down, setup a exclusion cage and then see what happens from there.
I'll just add a little bit to dogghr's thoughts (if it's ok :)) and why "Frost Seeding" was developed, for some northern cattle pasture farmers. Cattle would never let the clover go to seed, and it's longevity was reduced, hence, frost seeding became one solution, for pasture improvement.

Anyway, I'm not opposed to mowing (at the right times), but if your deer are doing the job for you, you're ahead of the game. Don't mow to make your plot look pretty, because the deer don't care.