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With its rapid, robust growth, crimson clover provides early spring nitrogen for full-season crops. Rapid fall growth, or summer growth in cool areas, also makes it a top choice for short-rotation niches as a weed suppressing green manure. Popular as a staple forage and roadside cover crop throughout the Southeast, crimson clover is gaining increased recognition as a versatile summer-annual cover in colder regions. Its spectacular beauty when flowering keeps it visible even in a mix with other flowering legumes, a common use in California nut groves and orchards. In Michigan, it is used successfully between rows of blueberries.
Crimson clover will grow well in about any type of well drained soil, especially sandy loam. It may fare poorly on heavy clay, waterlogged, extremely acid or alkaline soils. Once established, it thrives in cool, moist conditions. Dry soil often hinders fall plantings in the South.
Pasture and hay crop. Crimson clover is excellent for grazing and haying. It will regrow if grazed or mowed no lower than 3 or 4 inches before the early bud stage. Mixing with grass reduces its relatively low bloat risk even further. Timely mowing four to six weeks before bloom improves growth, reduces lodging and will cause more uniform flowering and seed ripening on highly fertile soils
Crimson clover can be grazed lightly in the fall, more intensively in the spring and still be left to accumulate N and/or set seed with little reduction in its soil N contribution, provided livestock are removed before flowering