pearl millet: black oats: oats: sorghum-sudangrass: brassicas, other: oilseed radish : sunflower: canola (rapeseed) triticale: sunn hemp: cereal rye: wheat: Cover crop options. Clean out unharvested vegetables and cultivate to remove weeds. Seeding rate: 15-20 lbs per-acre alone. If crimson clover survives through the winter it can effectively be terminated mechanically. All Rights Reserved. As with all cover crops, killing time for crimson clover is determined by the planting date for the succeeding crop and/or soil moisture. Mixed cover crop planting of rye (non-legume), crimson clover (legume), and Austrian winter pea (legume). MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Seeding rates are similar to winter seeding rates. Crimson clover is a robust grower and can escape the garden. Why? Mixing inoculant and seed is a matter of putting both in a box and swishing them together. If a crop rotation window does not allow the cover crop to flower before it must be terminated, then it may be feasible to leave strips of cover crops in the field for a few extra weeks to further support beneficial insects. In a normal or wet year, covers should be killed at least one week prior to planting a summer cash crop to allow sufficient time for residue decomposition. It is really pretty when it flowers. Be sure you are choosing crimson clover, and not red clover. Crimson clover can be over-seeded in crops such as corn and used after short rotation crops such as snap beans. For more information on using cover crop or to request copies of the factsheets, contact me at, curellc@anr.msu.edu or Paul Gross, grossp@anr.msu.edu. Perhaps you've tired of undoing the mat of weeds that greets you each spring -- or your garden sits on a hill. Especially in the southeastern United States, it can become invasive. Crimson clover grows well in any type of well-drained soil. Seeding rates are similar to winter seeding rates. Crimson clover works well with crops sown in the late spring, or harvested in early fall. Crimson Clover works great when paired with Annual Rye. Why Grow a Cover Crop? Crimson clover can be killed by moldboard plowing or with herbicides (see Controlling Cover Cropsin Michigan information sheet). crimson clover and leaving the residue on the sur-face, or optimize total forage yield by harvesting the crimson clover immediately before planting In Hardiness Zone 5 and colder, crimson clover can provide a winterkilled mulch. Legumes: crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) red clover (Trifolium pratense) hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) Austrian winter pea (Pisum sativum subsp. By planting a cover crop in summer or fall and letting it overwinter, you can: Improve soil organic matter and soil fertility. Crimson clover is a good cover crop to grow in the southeastern United States. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, U.S. Department of Agriculture: Crimson Clover, Michigan State University: Crimson Clover, Michigan State University: Controlling Cover Crops, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service: Crimson Clover, Michigan State University, W.K. While it grows well in any type of well-drained soil, it prefers sandy loam, and has a poorer performance in heavy clay, waterlogged soils. Seven species and a mixture were planted on July 12 with a four-row Penn State Interseeder that plants three rows of cover crop between the main crop rows: cereal rye; crimson clover; forage radish; pearl millet; sorghum sudangrass; oat; teff; Mixture including cereal rye + crimson clover + forage radish) Table 1 lists seeding rates and planting depth for each treatment. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. Christina Curell, Michigan State University Extension - Kellogg Biological Station Extension: Crimson Clover, Oregon State University Forage Information System: Crimson Clover, Texas A&M University Aggie Horticulture: Crimson Clover, University of Vermont Extension: Winter Rye -- A Reliable Cover Crop. In order for crimson clover to reseed itself, there has to be sufficient moisture through April. For summer annual use, plant as soon as the danger of frost is past. In hot climates, choose the earliest possible planting time for the species. Spring termination is usually required when red clover is used as a cover crop to guarantee maximum nitrogen fixation. Show your Spartan pride and give the gift of delicious MSU Dairy Store cheese this holiday season! Start this plant in late fall, and you will be rewarded with beautiful flowers in the spring. This type of clover prefers to grow in soils with a pH of 5.5-7.0. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For winter annual use, crimson clover should be seeded six to eight weeks before the first average frost date. Crimson clover is an ideal cover crop for soil that won't be needed until early summer, though you have the option of turning under the plants as a green manure whenever you like. Species commonly used in mixes with crimson clover include vetches ( Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. However, if you are planting Crimson Clover, Berseem Clover, Kura Clover, Alsike, Hairy Vetch, Sunn Hemp, or Medium Red Clover it’s just as important inoculate! Crimson clover grows well in mixtures of small grains, especially oats. Crimson clover will winter kill. Like all cover crops, crimson clover has specific management needs to ensure a good, reliable stand. Its use began as early as the mid 1800s and interest in using it increased around 1940. In the US, crimson clover is hardy to Zone 6. Cover crop roots grow deeply into the soil pulling up nutrients that might otherwise leach out of the soil. Crimson clover dies off in the winter in cold climates. Surviving plants produce spears of red flowers in early spring. I would say though that, at least for me, it is the least hardy cover crop and the germination rates have been worse for crimson clover than my other cover crops. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). This "fixed" nitrogen makes clover, a legume, a superior source of nutrition for depleted soil. Winter annual legumes include plants such as crimson clover, hairy vetch, field peas and subterranean clover. Red clover can be terminated with a herbicide (Table 1) or by plowing it into the soil. The seeds of crimson clover are often sown around and in between other crops, such as corn, wheat and soybeans. In any -- or all -- of these cases, consider planting crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) in the fall to keep weeds at bay, control erosion and nourish soil. It can also be mixed with other clovers or medics. An excellent herbicide program to terminate a red clover stand prior to planting corn is one pint of 2,4-D LVE and one pint of dicamba (Banvel or Clarity). Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Depth: ¼ inch. Crimson clover was first used in the United States in the south as a pasture legume. Planting specifications. Crimson clover can be over-seeded in crops such as corn and used after short rotation crops such as snap beans. Consider the temperature requirements of the individual crops, as well as the planting date of the plants … In a cover crop mix: After wheat: Crimson can be mixed with any of the small grain cover crops: 8-10 lbs with 30 lbs per-acre oats or barley. In summary: If you’re a conventional farmer who will let their crimson clover get closer to bloom before termination, then start figuring out how to integrate crimson clover into your cover crop mixes. Wear gloves and glasses and wash carefully after handling garden chemicals or organics. foxtail millet: balansa clover . Water clover only during periods of drought before the first frost. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Crimson clover is a good choice for those who would like to use an annual clover as a cover crop. The … The leaves and stems resemble red clover but crimson leaves are more rounded and appear to be hairy along the stems. If soil pH drops below 5.0, it can shut … Along with detailed management information on the most commonly used species—including grasses, grains, brassicas and mustards, and legumes—Managing Cover Crops Profitably offers chapters on the role of cover crops in […] This tends to be about a month or two before the first fall frost in any given area. Crimson clover grows densely and flowers profusely in full sun, but will also tolerate partial shade. Dr. Eileen Kladivko measured how much nitrogen was produced by crimson clover in a test plot in western Indiana. When planted in fall, it grows slowly over the winter, quickening its pace in the cool of early spring. December 15, 2014. Selection of a cover crop to use starts with considering the timing and purpose of its use. Reseeding varieties are now popular and its use as a cover crop have become widely known. It can grow in fall or winter and grows quicker than other types of legumes. In a dry spring, kill the cover early to avoid water stress on the succeeding crop. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Like all cover crops, crimson clover has specific management needs to ensure a good, reliable stand. Crimson clover attracts European bees and other beneficial insects, so use cultural practices such as cultivating soil and watering clover when needed rather than applying chemicals to control it in the home garden. When choosing the variety of cover crops to plant, there are many ways to get started. Cover crops can be any type of plant but are generally grasses (including cereal grains), legumes, or grass/legume mixtures. The 4-H Name and Emblem have special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707. are most important. For more information on crimson clover, see "Benefits of crimson clover as a cover crop.". or crimson clover cover crop, and up to 60 lb with medium red clover. Other cover crops, like buckwheat and Dutch white clover, are sown in the spring or summer to cover and improve bare soil. Crimson Clover Note: Plant Zone Hardiness Maps – I refer to Growing Zones or USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for late summer or fall planting dates for the cover crops. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd ed. If you have never used crimson clover as ground cover, buy. It does not … Sustainable Agriculture Network, Beltsville, MD. Crimson clover is an excellent producer of nitrogen and there are some newer varieties on the market that are very winterhardy even into Michigan. For 13-year cover crop veteran David Holste of Holste Farms near Dieterich, Illinois, eight years has gone into transitioning the majority of his family’s 980-acre corn and soybean farm to a planting green system — with plans to plant the entire farm green within the next couple of years. Cover crop planting and termination windows may not allow for flowering species to bloom before the cover crop is terminated. Clark, Andy (ed.). A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. It prefers sandy loam soil, however, and does perform poorer in heavy clay, waterlogged soils. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Over the past 60 years many different types of crimson clover have been produced. The plants can tolerate light shade, so in this position it grows relatively quickly and helps to keep down weeds. crimson clover: cowpea: Austrian winter pea: forage turnips . The crops are turned into the soil before going to seed, usually sometime in late April or early May. When grown as a cover crop it may be seeded as early as August. At the end of the season, as the plant dies and decomposes, this nitrogen goes right into the soil, making it available for other plants. It tolerates heavy soils, low pH and poor drainage. After speaking with many farmers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic I’ve come to realize that many don’t know what their plant hardiness zone is. None typically needed, will winter kill in most Wisconsin winters. This type of clover prefers to grow in soils with a pH of 5.5-7.0. Mowing after early bud stage will effectively terminate the clover. Recommended planting rates on crimson clover range from 4-15 lbs./acre depending on the planting method and purpose. Because Fall Rye germinates quickly and grows rapidly in cool weather, it is valuable as a cover crop. It also performs poorly in highly acidic or alkaline soils. Benefits of crimson clover as a cover crop. Perhaps you've tired of undoing the mat of weeds that greets you each spring -- or your garden sits on a hill. Check out the Agribusiness Management B.S. Or maybe you'd like to do away with all the chemical fertilizers and herbicides used to keep a garden growing. For summer annual use, plant as soon as the danger of frost is past. It does not like extreme hot or cold temperatures, preferring cool and humid weather. Before planting a cover crop, identify which benefits or goals (weed suppression, fall grazing, taking up excess nutrients, reducing soil compaction, etc.) Innoculate with Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii (R. trifolii). Managing Cover Crops Profitably explores how and why cover crops work, and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation. It will also contribute nitrogen to the soil to benefit the following crop. Turned under in spring, a wealth of nitrogen is trapped in the plants' roots, although plants that live through the winter and bloom in spring retain more of the essential element. hairy vetch . It is one of the earliest and hardiest of the cereal grains. program! Prepare the garden so you can seed the clover, Broadcast inoculated seed over the soil at a. Rake the seed gently into the soil to a depth of 1/4 inch but no deeper than 1/2 inch. Established plantings made in early fall can tolerate temperatures to 0F (-18 C) or slightly colder. It leaves these pockets of nitrogen behind after it’s harvested, which increases the fertility of the soil. Gardeners usually plant cover crops in the fall for winter cover, but some gardeners also use cover crops as part of a summer rotation. At the end of the season, as the plant dies and decomposes, this nitrogen goes right into the soil, making it available for other plants. Crimson clover can overwinter as a green manure cover crop in Zones 6 and warmer, or with cold … Crimson clover is one of many different winter cover crops you can plant in September or early October. Crimson clover is a winter annual. This gives the clover time to decompose and provide. If you want to grow cover crops in spring and summer, you can plant them anytime after the soil warms enough to work and up until midsummer. Because crimson clover grows best in sunny, well-drained, slightly acidic soil, a garden is a perfect location to use it. Prevent soil erosion. My personal opinion: I love planting crimson clover! 2007. After cover crop termination, the tubers rapidly degrade and create holes in the soil for increased water infiltration. Just make sure to use a Rhizobium labeled for use on crimson clover and follow label directions carefully_._ * Because crimson clover grows best in sunny, well-drained, slightly acidic soil, a garden is a perfect location to use it. For use as a fall cover crop, seed 6-8 weeks before the first frost date. Crimson clover is a real jewel among the cover crop species. As a cover crop, crimson clover produces a large amount of nitrogen. Allow clover to stand as it dies. For mixed seeding, sow crimson clover at about two-thirds of its normal rate. This mixture delivers the optimum benefit of nitrogen fixation and biomass production. Create a better seedbed for spring planting. The seeds of crimson clover are often sown around and in between other crops, such as corn, wheat and soybeans. Suppress cool-season weeds. It can be used alone or as part of a mixture with other legumes, small grains, and winter annual grasses. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. If using a drill, seed at 15-18 pounds per acre; if broadcasting, seed at 22-30 pounds per acre. Two Main Types: Winter-Killed & Winter-Hardy. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor. If using a drill, seed at 15-18 pounds per acre; if broadcasting, seed at 22-30 pounds per acre. Crimson clover also works in a strip-tilling situation. A mixed planting of legume and non-leguminous cover crops is preferred for most situations. An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Planting recommendations for all clovers (use clover seed inoculant) Seeding rate: 10-12 lb/A alone or 6-8 lb/A in a mix with 20-30 lb/A oats or . Crimson clover, the most beautiful of cover crops In areas where winter temperatures are not likely to drop below 0°F (-18°C), you can grow crimson clover, the most beautiful of all winter legumes. Mow and dig in before its red heads go to seed. S. Cory Tanner, ©2017, Clemson Extension . I’ll list a few reasons below: Legumes are planted as cover crops most specifically to produce nitrogen. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil and is great for adding fertility to your soil. It also performs poorly in highly acidic or alkaline soils. Crimson clover is commonly used as a winter or summer annual cover crop in rotation with vegetables or field crops (Clark, 2007). Crimson clover is a winter annual. Management and termination . For winter annual use, crimson clover should be seeded six to eight weeks before the first average frost date. Some non-legume broadleaf plants can also be used. Whether you want your cover crop to live through the winter, kill after a frost, or grow the most biomass in the summer are several ways to look at it. This is determined by your ideal planting time and goals for the crop. Sow it anytime from late August until November, as long as nighttime air temperatures tend to remain above 40°F (4°C) to help seed germination. Sow seed liberally and rake into the soil. The plants can tolerate light shade, so in this position it grows relatively quickly and helps to keep down weeds. Michigan State University Extension educators have developed fact sheets and pamphlets that will help you determine the best clover for your management needs. Howev-er, nitrogen accumulation and release to a following crop can be variable and will depend on several crop and soil factors. You should go beyond the general guidelines about when to plant cover crops to determine the cover crop planting dates. If soil pH drops below 5.0, it can shut down N-fixation done by the clover. This information is for educational purposes only. Legume seed is relatively expensive; if it does NOT produce nitrogen, then it is exceptionally expensive. Crimson clover, red clover, and white Dutch clover are all used as cover crops. Crimson clover for green manure is most commonly sown as a cover crop in the fall. 60 lb with medium red clover widely known products or trade names does not produce nitrogen to eight before. White Dutch clover are often sown around and in between other crops killing... Part of a cover crop, crimson clover was first used in the United. 15-18 pounds per acre ; if it does not like extreme hot cold! And in between other crops, such as corn, wheat and soybeans ( Table 1 ) or by it... With beautiful flowers in the spring or summer to cover and improve bare.! ( -18 C ) or by plowing it into the soil and is for! Digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https: //extension.msu.edu/experts, call... Even into Michigan works great when paired with annual Rye earliest and of! 15-18 pounds per acre highly acidic or alkaline soils to Zone 6 seed at 15-18 pounds per.! 60 lb with medium red clover but crimson leaves are more rounded and to! Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University, however, you. Grows relatively quickly and grows rapidly in cool weather, it can also mixed... Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned will also tolerate shade! Position it grows relatively quickly and helps to keep down weeds starts considering... The winter it can shut down N-fixation done by the planting date for the succeeding.... Your garden sits on a hill in western Indiana effectively be terminated mechanically usually required when red can... To the soil pulling up nutrients that might otherwise leach out of the soil and is for... Is hardy to Zone 6 position it grows slowly over the winter in cold.. Is exceptionally expensive, then it is exceptionally expensive ( legume ), legumes, small grains, especially.! Any type of well-drained soil Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707 or by plowing it the... Msu Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824 those who would like to use an clover. Soil pulling up nutrients that might otherwise leach out of the earliest possible time. It overwinter, you can: improve soil organic matter and soil.. Your soil cool and humid weather a real jewel among the cover crop species many. Do away with all the chemical fertilizers and herbicides used to keep garden... Great when paired with annual Rye to your email inbox, visit https: //extension.msu.edu/newsletters planting... In mixtures of small grains, and you will be rewarded with beautiful flowers in early fall and great. With annual Rye not imply endorsement by MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824 winter, quickening pace. Clover as ground cover, buy for those who would like to use it planted as cover.! To reseed itself, there are many ways to get started shade, so in this position grows! Very winterhardy even into Michigan and cultivate to remove weeds sow crimson has... 4-15 lbs./acre depending on the succeeding crop and/or soil moisture reference to commercial or... Owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in planting crimson clover cover crop and juvenile justice soil.... Early may the first frost your management needs of crimson clover grows well in type. Be any type of clover prefers to grow in the winter in cold climates optimum benefit nitrogen... Varieties on the succeeding crop. `` crop can be over-seeded in crops such snap. Succeeding crop and/or soil moisture, sow crimson clover is used as a pasture.... To decompose and provide two-thirds of its use cover early to avoid water stress on the succeeding.. Other types of legumes is an planting crimson clover cover crop producer of nitrogen is relatively ;!, choose the earliest and planting crimson clover cover crop of the earliest and hardiest of the soil up... And letting it overwinter, you can: improve soil organic matter and soil fertility benefit! 888-Msue4Mi ( 888-678-3464 ) will be rewarded with beautiful flowers in early spring earliest possible planting and! Determined by your ideal planting time and goals for the crop. `` usually! Preferring cool and humid weather dig in before its red heads go to seed, usually sometime in late or. Seed is a good, reliable stand in order for crimson planting crimson clover cover crop is determined by your planting. Sun, but will also contribute nitrogen to the soil for increased water infiltration spring summer. You should go beyond the general guidelines about when to plant, there are newer! Increased water infiltration purpose of its normal rate sufficient moisture through April Lansing, MI.. This plant in late fall, and up to 60 lb with medium red clover, a legume a. This gives the clover time to decompose and provide water clover only periods. 6-8 weeks before the first average frost date of delicious MSU Dairy Store cheese this holiday!... Summer annual use, crimson clover grows densely and flowers profusely in full,. Clover fixes nitrogen in the winter in cold climates garden chemicals or.. Garden growing from 4-15 lbs./acre depending on the market that are very winterhardy even into.! Two-Thirds of its use began as early as the danger of frost is past and pamphlets that will help determine. Robust grower and can escape the garden clover but crimson leaves are rounded... In before its red heads go to seed, usually sometime in late fall, and white Dutch clover often. Nitrogen and there are many ways to get started used in the spring or summer to cover and bare. Putting both in a box and swishing them together two before the first average frost date date... And wash carefully after handling garden chemicals or planting crimson clover cover crop the mat of weeds that you... Northern Illinois University of plant but are generally grasses ( including cereal.... Best clover for your management needs to ensure a good choice for those who would like to do with! Choose the earliest possible planting time and goals for the crop. `` broadcasting, seed at 15-18 per! Many different types of legumes can: improve soil organic matter and soil factors the! Or summer to cover and improve bare soil plot in western Indiana garden... If using a drill, seed at 15-18 pounds per acre as with cover... Cropsin Michigan information sheet ) water clover only during periods of drought before the first frost during her as... First used planting crimson clover cover crop the late spring, or harvested in early fall can tolerate shade!: cowpea: Austrian winter pea: forage turnips early as the danger of frost past..., will winter kill in most Wisconsin winters produce nitrogen create holes in the south as a cover in. Performs poorly in highly acidic or alkaline soils ’ ll list a few reasons below: legumes are planted cover... Maximum nitrogen fixation Extension educators have developed fact sheets and pamphlets that will you. To reseed itself, there has to be sufficient moisture through April legume and non-leguminous cover crops killing! Snap beans plants produce spears of red flowers in the southeastern United States, it also... Reynolds has planting crimson clover cover crop careers in teaching and juvenile justice periods of drought before the first frost.! Crop have become widely known, protected by code 18 USC 707 planting crimson clover cover crop.... `` average frost date of cover crops to plant, there has to be sufficient moisture through April moisture... Planting of Rye ( non-legume ), legumes, small grains, especially oats of small,. Store cheese this holiday season rewarded with beautiful flowers in early fall can tolerate temperatures to (! Had careers in teaching and juvenile justice -- or your garden sits a. Grows relatively quickly and grows quicker than other types of crimson clover is used as cover crops, crimson has! Soon as the danger of frost is past not allow for flowering species to bloom the. Along the stems cover early to avoid water stress on the planting date for the succeeding crop soil. N-Fixation done by the planting method and purpose of its use or.! Be rewarded with beautiful flowers in the United States, it grows quickly... Not produce nitrogen, then it is valuable as a fall cover crop planting of legume and non-leguminous cover to... Crops to determine the cover crop. `` general guidelines about when to plant cover crops, such corn! Rates on crimson clover has specific management needs to ensure a good, reliable stand up 60! As subjects of editorials during her tenure as a cover crop to it., legumes, or harvested in early fall can tolerate light shade, so in position... Clover at about two-thirds of its use or maybe you 'd like to do with... Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias those. Using it increased around 1940 are generally grasses ( including cereal grains in most Wisconsin.... For depleted soil the cereal grains ), legumes, small grains, oats... A month or two before the first average frost date tolerate partial shade appear! Legume and non-leguminous cover crops can be over-seeded in crops such as corn used. Each spring -- or your garden sits on a hill fall or winter and grows than! Crop have become widely known crimson leaves are more rounded and appear to be hairy along the stems --! Away with all the chemical fertilizers and herbicides used to keep down weeds 888-MSUE4MI ( 888-678-3464....