Grows where other clovers won't.
As concrete screws are to regular screws, so is alsike to most clovers. Alsike isn’t used or preferred under normal conditions, but when needed, it’s irreplaceable. Those conditions include poorly drained and acidic soils. Preferring wetter soils over droughty soils, Alsike will tolerate lengthy spring flooding and completely waterlogged soil. In these conditions, alsike can still provide red-clover quality forage for multiple years (in southern locations, alsike acts as an annual). Alsike is well adapted to northern climates and cooler summers. It also has good winter hardiness. Alsike does not tolerate shade.
Alsike leaves are smooth and sit on semi-erect, long, thin stems.The flowers are white or pale pink. The flowers bend down and turn brown after pollination. Like red clover, Alsike has a branch tap root that grows as deep as 4 feet.
Lives long and grows tall.
As a biennial, alsike usually lives two to three years and produces one to two good harvests per year. It can reach a mature height of two to four feet. Alsike works well with lower growing or managed grasses.
Alsike is susceptible to lodging. It is normally planted as a grass/legume mix. It is also used in combinations with red clover for planting on fields with portions that are either water-logged or have a lower pH. While not commonly used as a cover crop, it may be worth considering for acidic or waterlogged soils.
Alsike makes very good quality hay in a grass/hay mixture and is also quite tolerant of grazing*. Forage quality is very high, similar to alfalfa.
*There are some cautions when grazing Alsike, specifically as it relates to horses and other livestock, where toxicity, bloat, and skin irritation issues exist. While Alsike is very tolerant of grazing, learn more about these issues before recommending or using Alsike in situations where grazing may occur.
Alsike can fix 60-120 lbs N/ac/yr and two to five tons DM forage yield. In order to achieve optimal nitrogen fixation ability, alsike clover needs to be inoculated with Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii. This is best achieved with Nitro-Coat®.
Alsike Clover Specifications
Alsike Clover Specifications
|zones||Zones 3-5; annual in wet soils in zone 6-7|
|ease of establishment||Good|
|seeding rate straight||4-6 lbs/ac|
|seeding rate mix||2-4 lbs/ac|
|seeding depth||1/8-1/4 inch|
|seeding method||Broadcast or drilled (preferred)|
|method of killing/suppression||Mowing; grazing; chemical|
|optimal germination temperature||Night temperatures >40 F|
|use with wildlife||Good|
|use in orchards||Fair|
|use with row crops||Fair|
|use with other grasses/legumes||Good|
|weed suppression potential||Good|
|green manure/cover crop use||Fair|
|N contribution potential||Good|
|harvest time frame (late/early/year-round)||Late|
|number of harvest/yr||Up to 2 per growing season|
|other comments||Lodging a problem in pure stands, therefore planting with grasses is recommended to reduce lodging.|
|dry soil tolerance||Poor|
|wet soil tolerance||Excellent|
|required fertility (P, K, other nutrients)||Tolerant of lower pH soils than most clovers; responds to P and K fertilization|