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Clover .... mow? Spray ? Both?
Last summer we had about 80 acres logged. As part of the deal the loggers created a road which I disced up and planted clover. This spring I overseeded it and it appears to be doing pretty well. It is pretty weedy. I think I should mow the tops off the weeds soon staying above the clover which mostly has not headed out yet. I’ll fertilize again too. Or would I be better off spraying now and waiting to mow?
Mowing is probably your best option before the heat sets in. You could come back and spray in a week or two. Mowing usually encourages clover growth and it can out compete most weeds. Plots are rarely weed free but having a mowing and spraying plan in place will minimize weed infestation
From one Minnesotan to another, your first year clover is looking fantastic!
I would mow it high (controls broad leafs but not grasses), now assuming your moisture is good, overseed your thin spots and fertilize with a 9-23-30 (or less nitrogen if you can find it) about September 1, ideally right befor a rain.
Next spring I would spray for grasses with Clethodim in May while the grasses are young.
Keep us posted on your results!
You didn't mention your PH (do a soil sample if you haven't already) but the fact that this trail is in the timber it probably has a low PH.
If it has a low PH, add PEL lime (150-200 lb per acre) each time when you fertilize. It's cheap ($6 per 40 lb bag) and improves your food quality, quantity and most important palatability.
Sounds like a lot of work for a clover trail, but IMHO it's worth it!
You are correct, the PH is 5.5, I cannot get lime locally. I will likely have to drive to Bemidji to get it. I am thinking about seeding in trefoil in the bare spots which were mstly the spots that drowned out this spring. So you don't think I should spray it at all this year?
Generally clover is thin it's first year and comes up even lusher the second. I'd do nothing and sit on it a season, especially considering it's just a trail.
Does it matter how high or low should you mow it. I have a first year clover stand with Chicory, would the chicory bounce back by fall? Mine Seems to be fairly weed/grass free. Should I just leave it?
Not to sidetrack, but for next year I am "in the market" so to speak to throw down some clover. Curious how big you guys are doing your plots. I've read smaller is better in some situations as the deer can keep it down so you don't need to mow. Are you guys frost seeding to get them started? Grubby when you said you disc'd it and overseeded you saying you simply disc'd it and then broadcast over top and left that? Sorry I've never farmed, not do I have a ton of farming equipment, though I may have access to a disc. Was debating trying to frost seed some alfalfa in one area and clover in another. Sorry I'd start a different thread so as not to sidetrack yours grubby, but I am curious what you did if you don't mind explaining it a little further for the dopey Canade :)
Tom, I usually try to mow leave it about 4" long but it doesn't seem to hurt if I cut it shorter, it comes back pretty strong.
Apauls, last September when they were done logging they had a pretty nice road in there, they had pulled all the stumps and leveled it out nicely. I went in with the disc behind my tractor and it worked up great. we then went in and broadcast the clover mix and fertilizer and then rolled it out with the ATV (that's a quad to you) it actually came in pretty nice before the snow came. This spring I broadcast a pure clover blend over it while it was just barely melted off. Must have been late April or possibly early May.
As for size..... this is a trail, maybe 20 feet across at its widest and it figured out to be 1.5 acres total. My largest plot is 3 acres, that one usually gets beans or radishes. it gets wiped out every year by mid November. I had planted Grandpa Rays inner sanctum on one last year that was about .75, it was beautiful but by October 1 it was gone, that one got overseeded with pure clover this spring too. I'm hoping a good stand of clover will hold up well. Access to equipment would be the biggest factor in determining size.
Awesome, thanks for the info!
While we are on food plots. How do I tell triticale from invasive grasses in my innersactum plot? Should I mow that too?
Mowed it all tonight staying above the clover, there was a lot of weeds coming in, even compared to a week ago. Most of it looks great I think!
Its getting a good soaker of rain on it right now. I expect it will look much better after that.
I mowed for the second time today anticipating rain later this week. I was mainly concerned with the weeds but a lot of the clover had headed out too. I don’t think I will be doing anything with it the rest of the year other than fertilizing it. I’m pretty happy with it.
Looks great, Grubby! IMO, if you have good moisture, I don’t think it would hurt anything at all to mow it again, sometime in August as well. Might help some with any broadleaf weeds, plus you should get some really good regrowth, going into the fall.
A month ago it looked pretty sad, it’s just been so dry! We have had a fair amount of rain the last couple weeks and it perked right up! I am planning on giving it a shot of fertilizer within the next few days.