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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Questions about regular sweet clover

    If someone has some experience with planting and maintaining sweet clover( yellow or white, but not hubam) I would appreciate it if you could help me with some questions.
    I know sweet clover is a bi-annual, but how early does it have to be planted in order to bloom the following year?
    Will it keep coming back year after year and blooming? I don't mind sacrificing one year to get it established, but I would hate for the field to have nothing blooming in it every other year.
    What do you do to maintain the field? I don't mind spraying to keep competition down.

    I have some experience with white dutch clover and with crimson, but not much with sweet clover. I am doing an experiment with hubam this year because I like the idea of it being an annual. I've been a little dissappointed with it's growth but maybe I'm just impatient, or maybe it just needs more rain, as we have had a dry spring. Either way it is going to have to grow quick over the next couple of months to do what it is supposed to do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,325

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    I think any time in the early part of the summer is fine, even later in the summer is possible but it typically gets dryer and hotter later. The key component is having enough moisture to get it properly established then having just enough moisture to maintain it through the fall. If it is in a heavily grazed pasture it will suffer as well.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Thanks Jim, do you know anything about how well it comes back year after year?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    I've not grown sweet clover myself, but I know many sow it in the late fall / very early spring and let the frost heave cover it. Here is a USDA PDF publication I have found very useful in growing many other plants (as cover crops/ green manures) It has a fairly comprehensive section on clovers of all kinds:
    http://www.sare.org/publications/cov...covercrops.pdf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    I am on my 3rd yr of sweet yellow in my barnyard ( heavy gray clay) after intial sowing in August , had plenty of rain that year , it has come back fine on its own . I prefer the white dutch though , because I believe when it is dry ( like now in my area) the florets hold the nectar alot longer than yellow JMHO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kenton, OH USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    If you plant sweet clover, I would suggest you mix white blossom sweet and yellow blossom sweet about 50-50. The white blossom is about 2 weeks later to bloom than the yellow giving you nearly twice the bloom time. At least that is what I do and it seems to give a much extended time for the ladies to do their thing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    I recently read that white dutch clover will continue to bloom each year after the year you planted it.

    Due to dog traffic and my general dislike of lawns, I spread five pounds of white dutch clover around my back yard this spring. Now all the bare patches are pleasingly covered with a nice carpet of clover. I've found a seed company that sells a flowering lawn mix of various small clovers and other low growing flowering ground covers that I will be planting next year. I love the idea of a low maintenance lawn that will look great and feed my bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    446

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    We grow white dutch clover, sainfoin, alfalfa, and sweet clover for bee pasture. All have some problems. White dutch dies out after about 4 years if you do not let it seed itself. We harvested some of ours for rabbit hay. So know I am replannting some of it. Our sweet clover is like a weed. It comes back very well. The only time I have had problems with it coming back is when the blooming crop is so thick that it shades out the first year plants. I have a patch of sainfoin that I am afraid the sweet clover is going to out compete it. Many consider sweet clover a weed, and definately do not like to see it planted. In our alkalin soils I think once the seed is there it will always be there. Changing crops on the ground would require planting a crop that will with stand broad leaf herbicides, or roundup.
    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Ok, I claim complete ignorance on this. I direct sowed 25 lbs of yellow sweet clover this spring. It has sprouted and is growing fine.
    This plant is a biennial so I do not expect blooms this year.

    My question is if the clover I planted this year will bloom in the third year from it reseeding itself next fall?? OR do I need to plant again next spring to insure every year has blooming.

    Call me stupid but someone please enlighten me.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Is there a good source for these seeds at a reasonable price?
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Ok, I claim complete ignorance on this. I direct sowed 25 lbs of yellow sweet clover this spring. It has sprouted and is growing fine.
    This plant is a biennial so I do not expect blooms this year.

    My question is if the clover I planted this year will bloom in the third year from it reseeding itself next fall?? OR do I need to plant again next spring to insure every year has blooming.

    Call me stupid but someone please enlighten me.



    That is a good question, by all means not 'stupid'.

    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    446

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    In theory you would need to plant the sweet clover for two consecutive years, but if you plant heavy the first year and the seed is fresh, there will be enough dormant seed for a good crop of seedlings the second year. To be on the safe side plant it two years in a row.
    Dave

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Slow Modem,

    I think someone sells it at a good price in the for sale section here on beesource. Otherwise most farms co-ops can order it for you, or you can order some from Walter Kelly.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Thanks Dave!

    If you want to buy it get it from Camp9. He is a member here and sells it for an amazing price and the seed is very clean!!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Pittsburg, [Willamson County] Illinois, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    I work the soil in July early & again later in the month to cut down on the weeds. Then i plant the first part of Augest. It blooms the next year. Then when the bloom is gone i start over again. In my experince if you let it reseed itself it will be a spotty crop, the seed can lay dormant for up to 30 years. Your area may be different.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Modem View Post
    Is there a good source for these seeds at a reasonable price?
    I bought 5 pounds of White Dutch Clover to spread in my back yard and a wild meadow area behind it from Universal Seed in Birmingham Alabama. It was coated seed and cost about $2.50 per pound. I don't know if they ship since I just went there and picked it up. I believe they had other kinds of clover seed too.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Montgomery County, MD, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Quote Originally Posted by Yucca Patrol View Post
    It was coated seed
    Do you know what the seed is coated with? You might want to make sure it is not an insecticide coating, or -even worse- a systemic one. I am sure you follow the neonicotinoids controversy...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Clover seeds are usually coated with an innoculant (light blue color?) to help with germination. Also, many other seeds are coated with a fungicide (red/orange color). Both are bee-safe.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Yes, these seeds were coated with an innoculant that contains the necessary nitrogen fixing bacteria that clover needs for it's root system. It looked to me like a sort of chalk or clay. The coating was sort of light purple colored if I recall correctly

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Questions about regular sweet clover

    Camp9 sells it for about $1 a pound and the seed is very clean. I had no problems with it sprouting and it is looking good. Next year will be beautiful.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

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