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Title: Clovers and How to Grow Them
Author: Shaw, Thomas, 1843-1918
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(CHLA), Cornell University)



[Illustration: Alsike Clover in Northern Wisconsin]



                             CLOVERS
                               AND
                        HOW TO GROW THEM


                                BY
                            THOMAS SHAW


           Author of "Forage Crops Other than Grasses,"
            "The Study of Breeds," "Soiling Crops and
              the Silo," "Animal Breeding," "Grasses
                   and How to Grow Them," etc.



                             NEW YORK
                              1906



                      COPYRIGHT, 1906
                       By ORANGE JUDD COMPANY



                          TO ALL PERSONS
                    WHO ARE OR MAY BE INTERESTED
                             IN THE
                       GROWING OF CLOVERS
              THIS WORK IS MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
                          BY THE AUTHOR


                                _St. Anthony Park, Minn._
                                         _1906_



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


In preparing this work, the chief sources of information beyond the
author's experience and observation have been the bulletins issued by
the various experiment stations in the United States and discussions in
the Agricultural Press.

For the illustrations the author is indebted to Professor A. M. Soule of
the experiment station of Tennessee, Professor H. H. Hume of the
experiment station of Louisiana and Mr. W. T. Shaw of the experiment
station of Oregon.



THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE


Some books have been written on Clover in the United States, and as far
as they go they serve a good purpose. Many references and discussions
have also appeared in various bulletins and reports issued by the
experiment stations. These have proved helpful not only in the States in
which they have been issued, but also in other States where the
conditions are similar. But no book or bulletin has yet appeared which
discusses the growth of clovers as applicable to all parts of the United
States and Canada. Nor has any been issued which takes up the subject in
orderly and consecutive sequence. It is evident, therefore, that there
is not only room for a book which will cover the ground with at least
measureable fulness, but also in concise and orderly succession, but
there is great need for it. It has been the aim of the author to write
such a book.

Only those varieties of clover are discussed at length which are
possessed of economic value. The treatment of the subjects is virtually
the same as was adopted in writing the book on "Grasses and How to Grow
Them." Some references are made to the history, characteristics and
distribution of each variety. These are followed by discussions with
reference to soil adaptation; place in the rotation; preparing the
soil; sowing; pasturing; harvesting for hay; securing seed; and renewing
the stand.

The book is intended, in some measure at least, to meet the needs of the
students of agriculture, with reference to the plants discussed and also
of all who are concerned in the tilling of the soil.

_St. Anthony Park, Minn._
_1906_



TABLE OF CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I.                                                       PAGE.
  Introductory                                                       1

  CHAPTER II.
  General Principles for Growing Clovers                             6

  CHAPTER III.
  Medium Red Clover                                                 57

  CHAPTER IV.
  Alfalfa                                                          114

  CHAPTER V.
  Alsike Clover                                                    194

  CHAPTER VI.
  Mammoth Clover                                                   218

  CHAPTER VII.
  Crimson Clover                                                   238

  CHAPTER VIII.
  White Clover                                                     258

  CHAPTER IX.
  Japan Clover                                                     279

  CHAPTER X.
  Burr Clover                                                      291

  CHAPTER XI.
  Sweet Clover                                                     300

  CHAPTER XII.
  Miscellaneous Clovers                                            316



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  FIG.                                                            PAGE.
  1 Alsike Clover--_Frontispiece_.
  2 Medium Red                                                      61
  3 Alfalfa                                                        115
  4 Field of Alfalfa                                               171
  5 Alsike                                                         195
  6 Crimson                                                        239
  7 White                                                          259
  8 Japan                                                          281
  9 Sweet                                                          301
  10 Sainfoin                                                      318
  11 Beggar Weed (Flower and Seed Stems)                           339
  12 Beggar Weed (Root System)                                     341



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


In this book all the varieties of clover will be discussed that have
hitherto been found of any considerable value to the agriculture of
America. Varieties that are of but little value to the farmer will be
discussed briefly, if discussed at all. The discussions will be
conducted from the standpoint of the practical agriculturist rather than
from that of the botanist. It is proposed to point out the varieties of
clover worthy of cultivation, where and how they ought to be cultivated,
and for what uses.

=Definition of Clover.=--According to Johnson's Encyclopædia, clover or
trefoil is a plant of the genus _Trifolium_ and the family _Leguminosæ_.
The Standard Dictionary defines it as any one of several species of
plants of the genus _Trifolium_ of the bean family _Leguminosæ_. Viewed
from the standpoint of the American farmer it may be defined in the
collective sense as a family of plants leguminous in character, which
are unexcelled in furnishing forage and fodder to domestic animals, and
unequaled in the renovating influences which they exert upon land. The
term _Trefoil_ is given because the leaves are divided into three
leaflets. It is also applied to plants not included in the genus, but
belonging to the same order.

The true clovers have their flowers collected into roundish or oblong
heads and in some instances into cone-shaped spikes. The flowers are
small and of several colors in the different varieties, as crimson,
scarlet, pink, blue, yellow and white, according to the variety, and
some are variously tinted. The stems are herbaceous and not twining. The
seeds are inclosed in pods or seed sacks, each of which contains one,
two and sometimes, but not often, three or four seeds. The plants have
tap roots, and in some varieties these go far down into the subsoil. The
roots are also in some varieties considerably branched.

=Varieties.=--At least twenty varieties, native or naturalized, are
found in Great Britain; more than twelve varieties belong to the United
States. The more valuable varieties found in this country have been
introduced from Europe, unless it be the small white clover (_Trifolium
repens_). Viewed from the standpoint of the agriculturist the varieties
that are most generally useful include medium red clover (_Trifolium
pratense_), alfalfa (_Medicago sativa_), alsike (_Trifolium hybridum_),
mammoth (_Trifolium magnum_), crimson (_Trifolium incarnatum_) and small
white (_Trifolium repens_). The varieties which flourish only in the
South include the Japan (_Lespedeza striata_) and the burr clover
(_Medicago denticulata_). Sweet clover (_Melilotus alba_), sometimes
called Bokhara, which will grow equally well North and South, is worthy
of attention because of its power to grow under hard conditions, in
order to provide honey for bees and to renovate soils. Other varieties
may render some service to agriculture, but their value will not compare
with that of the varieties named.

The most valuable of the varieties named in providing pasture, include
the medium red, the mammoth, the alsike and the small white. The most
valuable in providing hay are the medium red, alfalfa and alsike. The
most valuable, viewed from the standpoint only of soil renovation, are
the medium red, mammoth, alsike, crimson, Japan and sweet. The most
valuable in producing honey accessible to tame bees, are the small
white, alsike and sweet.

=Distinguishing Characteristics.=--Clovers differ from one another in
duration, habit of growth, persistence in growth, their power to endure
low or warm temperatures, and ability to maintain a hold upon the soil.
Of the varieties named, alfalfa, the small white and alsike varieties
are perennial. That most intensely so is the first variety named. The
medium red and mammoth varieties are biennial, but sometimes they assume
the perennial quality. Sweet clover is biennial. The crimson, Japan and
burr varieties are annual.

Some varieties, as alfalfa, crimson and sweet clover, are upright in
their habit of growth. Others, as the small white and the burr, are
recumbent. Others again, as the medium red, alsike and mammoth, are
spreading and upright. The alfalfa and medium red varieties grow most
persistently through the whole season. The sweet, small white and alsike
varieties can best endure cold, and the sweet, Japan and burr varieties
can best endure heat. The small white, Japan, burr and sweet clovers
stand highest in ability to maintain a hold upon the soil.

The minor points of difference are such as relate to the shape and color
of the leaves, the tints of shade that characterize the leaflets, the
shape and size of the heads and the distinguishing shades of color in
the blossoms.

The characteristics which they possess in common are the high protein
content found in them, the marked palatability of the pasture and hay,
unless in the sweet and burr varieties, the power which they have to
enrich and otherwise improve soils, and the honey which they furnish.

=Plan of Discussion.=--Chapter I., that is, the present chapter, as
already indicated, is introductory, and outlines the nature, scope and
plan of the work. Chapter II. deals with the general principles and
facts which relate to the growing of clovers. A close study of these
will, in the judgment of the author, prove helpful to those who engage
in growing any of the varieties of clover discussed in the book.
Chapters III. to XI. inclusive treat of individual varieties, a chapter
being devoted to each variety. It has been the aim of the author to
discuss them in the order of the relative importance which they bear to
the whole country and to devote space to them accordingly.

The following varieties are discussed and in the order named: Medium Red
clover, Alfalfa, Alsike, Mammoth, Crimson, Small White, Japan, Burr and
Sweet. All of these varieties will be found worthy of more or less
attention on the part of the husbandmen in the various parts of this
continent.

Chapter XII. is devoted to a brief discussion of miscellaneous varieties
which have as yet been but little grown in this country, or of varieties
of but local interest. The former are Sainfoin (_Onobrychis sativa_),
Egyptian clover (_Trifolium Alexandrianum_), yellow clover (_Medicago
lupulina_), Sand Lucerne (_Medicago media_), and a newly introduced
variety of Japanese clover (_Lespedeza bicolor_). These may prove more
or less valuable to the agriculture of the United States when they have
been duly tested, a work which as yet has been done only in the most
limited way. The latter include Florida clover (_Desmodium tortuosum_),
more frequently called Beggar Weed, Buffalo clover (_Trifolium
reflexum_), and Seaside clover (_Trifolium invulneratum_). These may be
worthy of some attention in limited areas where the conditions are
favorable, but it is not likely that they will ever be very generally
grown. They are dwelt upon rather to show their small economic
importance and with a view to prevent needless experimentation with
plants possessed of so little real merit.



CHAPTER II

SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES WHICH APPLY TO THE GROWING OF CLOVERS


In growing clovers, as in growing other crops of the same species, which
embrace several varieties, certain features of management will apply
more or less to all of these in common. It will be the aim to point out
the chief of these in the present chapter.

=Adaptation in Clovers.=--Adaptation in the varieties of clover
considered will be more fully given when discussing these individually,
but enough will be said here to facilitate comparisons. Clover in one or
the other of its varieties can be grown in almost all parts of the
United States and Canada. Speaking in a general way, the medium and
mammoth varieties can be grown at their best between parallels 37° and
49° north latitude. Alfalfa has special adaptation for mountain valleys
of the entire West, but it will also grow in good form in parts of all,
or nearly all, the other States. Alsike clover grows in about the same
areas as the common and mammoth varieties, but it may also be grown
further North, owing to its greater hardihood. Crimson clover has
highest adaptation to the States east of the Allegheny Mountains and
west of the Cascades, but will also grow in the more Central States
south, in which moisture is abundant. Small white clover will grow in
any part of the United States or Canada in which moisture is
sufficiently present. Japan and burr clover grow best south of parallel
37° and east of longitude 98°. Sweet clover will grow in all the States
and provinces of the United States and Canada, but has highest
adaptation for the Central and Southern States.

With reference to adaptation to soils, medium and mammoth clover grow
best on upland clay loam soils, such as have sustained a growth of
hardwood timber, and on the volcanic ash soils of the Western mountain
valley. Alfalfa flourishes best on those mountain valley soils when
irrigated, or when these are so underlaid with water as to furnish the
plants with moisture. Alsike clover has much the same adaptation to
soils as the medium and mammoth varieties, but will grow better than
these on low-lying soils well stored with humus. Crimson clover has
highest adaptation for sandy loam soils into which the roots can
penetrate easily. Small, white clover has adaptation for soils very
similar to that of alsike clover. Japan clover and burr clover will grow
on almost any kind of soil, but on good soils the growth will, of
course, be much more vigorous than on poor soils. Sweet clover seems to
grow about equally well on sandy loams and clay loams, but it has also
much power to grow in stiff clays and even in infertile sands.

=Place in the Rotation.=--All the varieties of clover discussed in this
volume may be grown in certain rotations. Their adaptation for this use,
however, differs much. This increases as the natural period of the life
of the plant lessens and _vice versa_. Consequently, the medium red
variety, the mammoth, the crimson, the Japan and the burr varieties
stand high in such adaptation. The alsike, living longer, is lower in
its adaptation, and alfalfa, because of its long life, stands lowest in
this respect. The small, white variety is almost invariably grown or
found growing spontaneously along with grasses, hence no definite place
has been or can be assigned to it in the rotation. Sweet clover being
regarded by many as a weed has not had any place assigned to it in a
regular rotation, although in certain localities it may yet be grown for
purposes of soil renovation. (See page 306.)

All these crops are leguminous without any exception. This fact is of
great significance where crops can be rotated. They have power to gather
nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil in tubercles which form
on their roots, in all soils in which they produce a vigorous growth.
This fact indicates where they should come in the rotation. They should
be grown with a view to gather food for other crops made to follow them,
which have not the same power. They should, therefore, be made to
precede such crops as the small cereals, corn, the sorghums, the millets
and cotton. But since these clover plants have the power to bring
nitrogen from the air, it must not be supposed that they will grow with
sufficient vigor in soils destitute of this element. They must be able
to appropriate enough from the seed soil to give them a good start
before they can draw nitrogen from the air, hence, though they may be
made to follow almost any kind of crop, it may sometimes be necessary to
apply some nitrogenous fertilizer before they will make a vigorous
growth.

The clovers, unless in the case of some of the smaller varieties, are
more commonly sown to provide hay than pasture in the first crops
obtained from them. The value of the hay is increased or lessened in
proportion as weeds are present. To insure cleanliness in the hay crop,
therefore, the system which aims to sow clover seed on land to which
clean cultivation has been given while growing on them a cultivated
crop, as corn or field roots, meets with much favor. The mechanical
condition of the soil immediately after growing these crops also favors
the vigorous growth of the young clover plants, more especially when
they are sown upon the surface of the land after some form of surface
cultivation, rather than upon a surface made by plowing the land after
cultivation has been given to it, but to this there may be some
exceptions.

Clover in some of its varieties is frequently grown from year to year in
orchards and for the two-fold purpose of gathering food for the trees
and providing for them a cover crop in winter. The medium red and
crimson varieties are preferred for such a use. The latter is the more
suitable of the two, since it does not draw on soil moisture needed by
the trees, owing to the season at which it is grown. Enough of the seed
of these crops may be allowed to mature to re-seed the land from year to
year, and thus keep it producing. The clover plants not only gather
nitrogen for the fruit trees, but in their decay they increase the power
of the soil to retain moisture for the benefit of the trees.

Some varieties of clover may be grown as catch crops, that is, as crops
which are grown in addition to some other crop produced the same season.
When thus grown, it is usually for purposes of soil improvement rather
than to furnish food. The varieties best adapted for this purpose in the
Northern States and Canada are the medium red and the crimson, the
latter being much more circumscribed in the area where it will grow
successfully than the former. When medium red clover is thus grown, it
is commonly sown along with one of the small cereal grains, and is
buried in the autumn or in the following spring. (See page 75.) The
extent of the advantage is dependent chiefly on the amount of the growth
made, and this in turn is influenced by the character of the soil, the
season, and the nurse crop. In certain areas favorable to the growth of
clover some good farmers sow clover along with all the small cereal
grains which they grow. Crimson clover is usually sown in the late
summer after some crop has been reaped and it is plowed under the
following spring. (See page 250.)

In the Southern States Japan clover and burr clover will serve the
purpose of catch crops better than the other varieties. The former will
follow a winter crop (see page 284), and the latter a summer crop. (See
page 294.)

Although alfalfa is not usually looked upon as a rotation crop in the
Rocky Mountain valleys, it may be made such a crop. In these it grows
so vigorously as to fill the soil with its roots in one or two seasons,
hence it may be made to rotate profitably with other crops. (See page
135.) In such instances, however, medium red clover would probably
answer the purpose quite as well, and possibly better, since the labor
of burying it with the plow would be less difficult.

While some varieties of clover may be grown in various rotations and
with profit, one of the best of these, where the conditions are
favorable, is a three years' rotation. The first year some small cereal
grain is grown and clover is sown along with it or, at least, on the
same land. The next year the clover is grown for hay or pasture. The
third year a crop of corn, potatoes or vegetables is grown, and the
following year small cereal grain and clover. The clover may thus be
made to furnish nitrogen indefinitely for the other crops, but in some
instances it may be necessary to add phosphoric acid and potash.

=Preparing the Soil.=--Clovers are usually sown with a nurse crop. The
exceptions are crimson clover, and in many instances alfalfa. When thus
grown, the preparation of soil for the nurse crop will usually suffice
for the clovers also. But there may be instances in which it would be
proper to give more attention to cleaning and pulverizing the soil to
properly fit it for receiving the clover seed. The leading essentials in
a seed-bed for clover are fineness, cleanness, moistness and firmness.
Ordinarily black loam soils, sandy loam soils, sandy soils, humus soils
and the volcanic ash soils of the West are made sufficiently fine
without great labor. Clay soils may call for the free use of the harrow
and roller used in some sort of alternation before they are sufficiently
pulverized. Excessive fineness in pulverization of these soils is also
to be guarded against in rainy climates, lest they run together, but
this condition is present far less frequently than the opposite.

Cleanness can usually be secured when clovers follow cultivated crops by
the labor given to these when the land is not plowed in preparing it for
the clovers. In other instances the longer the land is plowed before
putting in the seed and the more frequently the surface is stirred
during the growing part of the season, the cleaner will the seed-bed be.

In the spring the land is usually sufficiently moist for receiving the
seed. In the autumn moisture is frequently deficient. Stirring the
surface of the soil occasionally with the harrow will materially
increase the moisture content in the soil near the surface, even in the
absence of rain. As crimson clover is usually sown in the late summer
and alfalfa is frequently sown in the autumn, it may sometimes be
necessary to give much attention to securing sufficient moisture to
insure germination in the seed.

When clovers are sown in the spring on land which is also growing a
winter crop, no preparation is necessary in preparing the land for
receiving the seed. On some soils the ground becomes sufficiently
honeycombed through the agency of water and frost to put it in a fine
condition for receiving the seed. When this condition is not present,
the seed will usually grow if sown amid the grain and covered with the
harrow.

When clovers are sown on sod land for the purpose of renewing pastures,
disking them will prepare them for receiving the seed. The extent of the
disking will depend on such conditions as the toughness of the sod and
the nature of the soil. Usually disking once when the frost is out a
little way from the surface, and then disking across at an angle will
suffice, and in some instances disking one way only will be sufficient.
On newly cleared lands the clovers will usually grow without any
stirring of the land before sowing, or any harrowing after sowing.
Clovers that are grown chiefly for pasture, as the small white, the
Japan and the burr, will usually obtain a hold upon the soil if
scattered upon the surface which is not soon to be cultivated.

=Fertilizers.=--On certain soils low in fertility and much deficient in
humus, it may be necessary to apply fertilizers in some form before
clovers will grow vigorously. Such are sandy soils that have been much
worn by cropping, and also stiff clays in which the humus has become
practically exhausted. In such instances green crops that can be grown
on such lands, as rye, for instance, plowed under when the ear begins to
shoot, will be found helpful. If this can be followed on the sandy soil
with some crop to be fed off upon the land, as corn, for instance, and
the clover is sown, successful growth is likely to follow. On clays in
the condition named it may not be necessary to grow a second crop before
sowing clover, since in these soils the lack is more one of humus than
of plant food. The application of farmyard manure will answer the same
purpose, if it can be spared for such a use.

Other soils are so acid that clovers will not grow on them until the
acidity is corrected, notwithstanding that plant food may be present in
sufficient quantities. Such are soils, in some instances at least, that
have been newly drained, also soils that grow such plants as sorrels.
This condition will be improved if not entirely corrected by the
application of lime. On such soils this is most cheaply applied in the
air-slaked form, such as is used in plastering and in quantities to
effect the end sought. These will vary, and can only be ascertained
positively by experiment.

Usually it is not necessary to apply much farmyard manure in order to
induce growth in nearly all varieties of clover, and after free growth
is obtained, it is not usually necessary to supply any subsequently for
the specific purpose named. In some soils, however, alfalfa is an
exception. It may be necessary to enrich these with a liberal dressing
of farmyard manure to insure a sufficiently strong growth in the plants
when they are young. Having passed the first winter, further dressings
are not absolutely essential, though they may prove helpful.

Farmyard manure applied on the surface will always stimulate the growth
of clovers, but it is not common to apply manure thus, as the need for
it is greater in growing the other crops of the farm. When thus applied,
it should be in a form somewhat reduced, otherwise the coarse parts may
rake up in the hay. It is better applied in the autumn or early winter
than in the spring, as then more of the plant food in it has reached the
roots of the clover plants, and they have also received benefit from the
protection which it has furnished them in winter.

In a great majority of instances, soils are sufficiently well supplied
with the more essential elements of fertility to grow reasonably good
crops of clover, hence it has not usually been found necessary to apply
commercial fertilizers to stimulate growth, as in the growing of
grasses. In some instances, however, these are not sufficiently
available, especially is this true of potash. Gypsum or land plaster has
been often used to correct this condition, and frequently with excellent
results. It also aids in fixing volatile and escaping carbonates of
ammonia, and conveys them to the roots of the clover plants. It is
applied in the ground form by sowing it over the land, and more commonly
just when the clover is beginning to grow. The application of 50 to 200
pounds per acre has in many instances greatly increased the growth,
whether as pasture, hay or seed. The following indications almost
certainly point to the need of dressings of land plaster: 1. When the
plants assume a bluish-green tint, rather than a pea-green, while they
are growing. 2. When the plants fail to yield as they once did. 3. When
young plants die after they have begun to grow in the presence of
sufficient moisture. 4. When good crops can only be grown at long
intervals, as, say, 5 to 8 years. It has also been noticed that on some
soils where gypsum has long been used in growing clover the response to
applications of the plaster is a waning one, due doubtless to the too
rapid depletion of the potash in the soil.

Potassic fertilizers give the best results when applied to clovers, but
dressings of phosphoric acid may also be helpful. Applications of
muriate or sulphate of potash or kainit may prove profitable, but on
many soils they are not necessary in growing clover. Wood ashes are also
excellent. They furnish potash finely divided and soluble, especially
when applied in the unleached form. When applied unleached at the rate
of 50 bushels per acre and leached at the rate of 200 bushels, the
results are usually very marked in stimulating growth in clover.

=Seasons for Sowing.=--Clovers are more commonly sown in the springtime
in the Northern States and Canada than at any other season and they are
usually sown early in the spring, rather than late. On land producing a
winter crop, as rye or wheat, they can be sown in a majority of
instances as soon as the snow has melted. That condition of soil known
as honeycombed furnishes a peculiarly opportune time for sowing these
seeds, as it provides a covering for them while the land is moist, and
thus puts them in a position to germinate as soon as growth begins. Such
a condition, caused by alternate freezing and thawing, does not occur on
sandy soils. Where it does not so occur, sowing ought to be deferred
until the surface of the ground has become dry enough to admit of
covering with a harrow. As in sowing the seeds of certain grasses good
results usually follow sowing just after a light fall of snow, which, as
it melts, carries the seed down into the little openings in the soil.
But there are areas, especially in the American and Canadian northwest,
where in some seasons the young clover plants would be injured from
sowing the seed quite early. This, however, does not occur very
frequently. When sown on spring crops, as spring wheat, barley and oats,
the seed cannot, of course, be sown until these crops are sown. The
earlier that these crops are sown the more likely are the clovers sown
to make a stand, as they have more time to become rooted before the dry
weather of summer begins. In a moist season the seed could be safely
sown any time from spring until mid-summer, but since the weather cannot
be forecast, it is considered more or less hazardous to sow clovers in
these northern areas at any other season than that of early spring. If
sown later, the seed will more certainly make a stand without a nurse
crop, since it will get more moisture. If sown later than August, the
young plants are much more liable to perish in the winter.

In the States which lie between parallels 40° and 35° north, and between
the Atlantic and the 100th meridian west, clover seeds may be sown in
one form or another from early spring until the early autumn without
incurring much hazard from winter killing in the young plants, but here
also early spring sowing will prove the most satisfactory. The hazard
from sowing in the summer comes chiefly from want of sufficient moisture
to germinate the seed.

In the Southern States the seed is sown in the early spring or in the
autumn. If sown late, the heat of summer is much against the plants.
Seeds sown in the early autumn as soon as the rains come will make a
good stand before the winter, but there are some soils in the South in
which alternate freezing and thawing in winter, much more frequent than
in the North, would injure and in some instances destroy the plants.

In the Western valleys where irrigation is practiced, clover seeds may
be sown at any time that may be desired, from the early spring until the
early autumn. The ability to apply water when it is needed insures
proper germination in the seed and vigor in the young plants.

=Methods of Sowing.=--Clover seed may be sown by hand, by hand machines,
and by the grain drill, with or without a grass-seed sowing attachment.
These respective methods of sowing will be discussed briefly here, but
since they are practically the same as the methods to be followed in
sowing grass seeds, and since they are discussed more fully in the book
"Grasses and How to Grow Them" by the author, readers who wish to pursue
the subject further are referred to the book just named.

When clovers are sown by hand, usually but one hand is used. Enough seed
is lifted between the thumb and two forefingers of the right hand to
suffice for scattering by one swing of the same. On the return trip
across the field the seed should be made to overlap somewhat the seed
sown when going in the opposite direction. In other words, the seed is
sown in strips or bands, as it were, each strip being finished in one
round. Some sowers, more expert at their work, sow with both hands and
complete the strip each time they walk over the field. When the ground
is plowed in lands of moderate width the furrows will serve to enable
the sower to sow in straight lines. Where the sowing is done on land
sown to grain by the drill, the drill marks may be made to effect the
same result. When sown on light snows, the foot-marks will serve as
guides. In the absence of marks it will be necessary to use stakes to
guide the sower. Four stakes are used, two of which are set at each end
of the field, and these are moved as each cast is made. At each round
made over the field, from 12 feet to 15 feet may be sown by the sower
who sows only with one hand. The sower with two hands will accomplish
twice as much.

A comparatively still time should be chosen for sowing the seed by hand,
more especially when grass seeds, which are usually lighter, are sown at
the same time. In hand sowing much care is necessary in scattering the
seed, so that each cast of the seed will spread evenly as it falls,
leaving no bare spaces between the cast from the hand or between the
strips sown at one time. Hand sowing, especially in the Western States,
is in a sense a lost art, owing to the extent to which machine sowing is
practised; nevertheless, it is an accomplishment which every farmer
should possess, since it will oftentimes be found very convenient when
sowing small quantities of seed, and in sowing seeds in mixtures which
cannot be so well sown by machines.

Hand machines are of various kinds. Those most in favor for ordinary
sowing consist of a seeder wheeled over the ground on a frame resembling
that of a wheelbarrow. It sows about 12 feet in width at each cast of
the seed. It enables the sower to sow the seed while considerable wind
is blowing and to sow it quite evenly, but it is not adapted to the
sowing of all kinds of grass and clover mixtures, which it may be
desirable to sow together, since they do not always feed out evenly,
owing to a difference in size, in weight, in shape and in the character
of the covering.

When clover seed is sown with the grain drill, it is sometimes sown
separately from grain; that is, without a nurse crop, and is deposited
in the soil by the same tubes. But it is only some makes of drills that
will do this. Clover seed, and especially alfalfa, may be thus sown with
much advantage on certain of the Western and Southern soils, especially
on those that are light and open in character, and when the seed is to
be put in without a nurse crop. Eastern soils are usually too heavy to
admit of depositing the seed thus deeply, but to this there are some
exceptions.

When sown with a nurse crop, the seed is in some instances mixed with
the grain before it is sown. In some instances it is mixed before it is
brought to the field. At other times it is added when the grain has been
put in the seed-box of the drill. This method of sowing is adapted to
certain soils of the Western prairies and to very open soils in some
other localities, but under average conditions it buries seeds too
deeply. There is the further objection that they all grow in the line of
the grain plants and are more shaded than they would be otherwise.
Nevertheless, under some conditions this method of sowing the plants is
usually satisfactory.

One of the most satisfactory methods of sowing clover seeds along with a
nurse crop is to sow the clover with a "seeder attachment;" that is, an
attachment for sowing small seeds, which will deposit the same before or
behind the grain tubes as may be desired. The seed is thus sown at the
same time as the grain, and in the process is scattered evenly over the
surface of the ground. These seeder attachments, however, will not sow
all kinds of clover and grass mixtures any more than will hand-sowing
machines do the same.

=Depth to Bury the Seed.=--The depth to bury the seed varies with the
conditions of soil, climate and season. Clover seeds, like those of
grasses, are buried most deeply in the light soils of the prairie so
light that they sink, so as to make walking over them unusually tiresome
when working on newly plowed land, and in other instances so light as to
lift with the wind. On such soils the seeds may be buried to the depth
of 2 to 3 inches. On loam soils, a covering of 1 inch or less would be
ample, and on stiff clays the covering may even be lighter under normal
conditions.

Clover seeds are buried more deeply in dry than in moist climates, and
also more deeply in dry portions of the year than when moisture is
sufficient. While it may be proper in some instances to scatter the
seeds on the surface without any covering other than is furnished by
rain or frost, it will be very necessary at other seasons to provide a
covering to insure a stand of the seed.

When clover seed is sown on ground honeycombed with frost, no covering
is necessary. When sown on winter grain in the spring, the ground not
being so honeycombed, covering with the harrow is usually advantageous.
When sown on spring crops and early in the season, it may not be
necessary to cover the seed, except by using the roller, even though the
seed should fall behind the grain tubes while the grain crop is being
sown, or should be sown subsequently by hand. In other instances the
harrow should be used, and sometimes both the roller and the harrow.
Under conditions such as appertain to New England and the adjacent
States to Ontario and the provinces east and to the land west of the
Cascade Mountains, clover and also grass seeds do not require so much of
a covering as when sown on the prairie soils of the central portion of
the continent.

=Sowing Alone or in Combinations.=--Whether clover seed should be sown
alone or in combination with the seeds of other grasses will depend upon
the object sought in sowing it. When sown to produce seed, it is usually
sown without admixture, but not in every instance; when sown to produce
hay, it is nearly always sown in mixtures, but to this there are some
exceptions; when sown to produce pasture, it is almost invariably sown
with something else; and when sown to enrich the land, it is, in all,
or nearly all, instances, sown without admixture.

When sown primarily to produce seed, there are no good reasons why
timothy and probably some other grasses may not be sown with medium red
and mammoth clover, when pasture is wanted from the land in the season
or seasons immediately following the production of seed.

The presence of these grasses may not seriously retard the growth of the
clover plants until after they have produced seed, and subsequently they
will grow more assertively and produce pasture as the clover fails.
Moreover, should they mature any seed at the same time that the clover
seeds mature, they may usually be separated in the winnowing process,
owing to a difference in the size of the seeds. But timothy should not
be sown with alsike clover that is being grown for seed, since the seeds
of these are so nearly alike in size that they cannot be separated.

When hay is wanted, the practice is very common of sowing timothy along
with the medium red, mammoth and alsike varieties of clover. Timothy
grows well with each of these; supports them to some extent when likely
to lodge; matures at the same time as the mammoth and alsike clovers;
comes on more assertively as the clovers begin to fail, thus prolonging
the period of cropping or pasturing; and feeds upon the roots of the
clovers in their decay.

Next to timothy, redtop is probably the most useful grass to sow with
these clovers, and may in some instances be added to timothy in the
mixtures. Some other grasses may also be added under certain conditions,
or substituted for timothy or redtop. In certain instances, it has also
been found profitable to mix certain of the clovers in addition to
adding grass seeds when hay is wanted. The more important of these
mixtures will be referred to when treating of growing the different
varieties in subsequent chapters. When growing them, the aim should be
to sow those varieties together which mature about the same time. The
advantages from growing them together for hay include larger yields, a
finer quality of hay, and a more palatable fodder.

In the past it has been the almost uniform practice to sow alfalfa
alone, but this practice is becoming modified to some extent, and is
likely to become more so in the future, especially when grown for
pasture.

When sown to produce pasture, unless for one or two seasons, clover seed
is sown in various mixtures of grasses in all or nearly all instances.
The grasses add to the permanency of the pastures, while the clovers
usually furnish abundant grazing more quickly than the grasses. Several
of them, however, are more short-lived than grasses usually are, hence
the latter are relied upon to furnish grazing after the clovers have
begun to fail. In laying down permanent pastures, the seed of several
varieties is usually sown, but in moderate quantities. The larger the
number of the varieties sown that are adapted to the conditions, the
more varied, the more prolonged and the more ample is the grazing
likely to be.

When clovers, except the crimson variety, are sown for the exclusive
purpose of adding to the fertility of the land, they are usually sown
along with some other crop that is to be harvested, the clover being
plowed under the following autumn or the next spring. These are usually
sown without being mixed with other varieties, and the two kinds most
frequently sown primarily to enrich the land are the medium red and
crimson varieties. The former grows more quickly than other varieties,
and the latter, usually sown alone, comes after some crop already
harvested, and is buried in time to sow some other crop on the same land
the following spring.

=Sowing with or without a Nurse Crop.=--Nearly all varieties of clover
are usually sown with a nurse crop; that is, a crop which provides shade
for the plants when they are young and delicate. But the object in
sowing with a nurse crop is not so much to secure protection to the
young plants as to get them established in the soil, so that they will
produce a full crop the following season. Two varieties, however, are
more commonly sown alone. These are alfalfa and crimson clover.

Alfalfa is more commonly sown alone because the young plants are
somewhat delicate and easily crowded out by other plants amid which they
are growing. Because of the several years during which alfalfa will
produce crops when once established, it is deemed proper to sacrifice a
nurse crop in order to get a good stand of the young plants. The other
clovers are usually able to make a sufficient stand, though grown along
with a nurse crop. In some situations alfalfa will also do similarly,
as, for instance, where the conditions are very favorable to its growth.
Crimson clover is more commonly sown alone for the reason, first, that
it is frequently sown at a season when other crops are not being sown;
second, that it grows better without a nurse crop; and third, that if
grown with a nurse crop the latter would have to be used in the same way
as the clover.

Some have advocated sowing clovers without a nurse crop under any
conditions. Such advocacy in the judgment of the author is not wise. It
is true that in some instances a stand of the various clovers is more
certainly assured when they are sown without a nurse crop, but in such
situations it is at least questionable if it would not be better to sow
some other crop as a substitute for clover. But there may be instances,
as where clover will make a good crop of hay the year that it is sown,
when sowing it thus would be justifiable. In a majority of instances,
however, it will not make such a crop, because of the presence of weeds,
which, in the first place, would hinder growth, and in the second, would
injure the quality of the hay.

The nurse crops with which clovers may be sown are the small cereal
grains, as rye, barley, wheat and oats. Sometimes they are sown with
flax, rape and millet. They usually succeed best when sown along with
rye and barley, since these shade them less and are cut earlier, thus
making less draft on moisture in the soil and admitting sunlight at an
earlier period. Oats make the least advantageous nurse crop, because of
the denseness of the shade, but if they are sown thinly and cut for hay
soon after they come into head, they are then a very suitable nurse
crop. One chief objection to flax as a nurse crop is that it is commonly
sown late. The chief virtue in rape as a nurse crop is that the shade is
removed early through pasturing. The millets are objectionable as nurse
crops through the denseness of the shade which they furnish and also
because of the heavy draught which they make on soil moisture. Peas and
vetches should not be used as nurse crops, since they smother the young
clover plants through lodging in the advanced stages of their growth.

=Amounts of Seed to Sow.=--The amounts of clover seed to sow are
influenced by the object sought in sowing; by combinations with which
the seeds are sown, and by the relative size of the seeds. The soil and
climate should also be considered, although these influences are
probably less important than those first named.

When clovers are sown for pasture only, or to fertilize the soil
speedily and to supply it with humus, the largest amounts of seed are
sown. But for these purposes it is seldom necessary to use more than 12
pounds of seed per acre. These amounts refer to the medium red and
mammoth varieties, which are more frequently used than the other
varieties for the purposes named. They also include the crimson sown
usually to fertilize the soil. When sown to provide seed only, 12 pounds
per acre of the medium red, mammoth and crimson varieties will usually
suffice. Half the quantity of alsike will be enough, and one-third the
quantity of the small white, or a little more than that. Whether alfalfa
is grown for seed, for hay or for pasture, about the same amounts of
seed are used; that is, 15 to 20 pounds per acre. When sown with nurse
crops and simply to improve the soil, it is customary to sow small
rather than large quantities of seed, and for the reason that the hazard
of failure to secure a stand every season is too considerable to justify
the outlay. From 4 to 5 pounds per acre are frequently sown and of the
medium or mammoth variety.

When the mammoth and medium varieties of clover are sown for hay with
one or two kinds of grass only, it is not common to sow more than 6 to 8
pounds of either per acre. The maximum amount of the seed of the alsike
required when thus sown with grasses may be set down at 5 pounds per
acre. These three varieties are chiefly used for such mixtures. With
more varieties of grass in the mixtures, the quantities of clover seed
used will decrease. When clovers are sown with mixtures intended for
permanent pastures, it would not be possible to name the amounts of seed
to sow without knowing the grasses used also, but it may be said that,
as a rule, in those mixtures, the clovers combined seldom form more than
one-third of the seed used.

The seeds of some varieties of clover are less than one-third of the
size of other varieties. This, therefore, affects proportionately, or at
least approximately so, the amounts of seed required. For instance,
while it might be proper to sow 12 pounds of medium or mammoth clover to
accomplish a certain result, less than one-third of the quantity of the
small white variety would suffice for the same end.

The influences of climate and soil on the quantities of seed required
are various, so various that to consider them fully here would unduly
prolong the discussion. But it may be said that the harder the
conditions in both respects, the more the quantity of seed required and
_vice versa_.

=Pasturing.=--When clover seed is sown in nurse crops that are matured
before being harvested, the pasturing of the stand secured the autumn
following is usually to be avoided. Removing the covering which the
plants have provided for themselves is against their passing through the
winter in the best form. In some instances the injury proves so serious
as to result in a loss of all, or nearly all, the plants. The colder the
winters, the less the normal snowfall and the more the deficiency of
moisture, the greater is the hazard. But in some instances so great is
the growth of the clover plants that not to graze them down in part at
least would incur the danger of smothering many of the plants,
especially in regions where the snowfall is at all considerable.

But when the seed is sown alone or in mixtures of grain and even of
other grasses in the spring, grazing the same season will have the
effect of strengthening the plants. This result is due chiefly to the
removal of the shade that weeds and other plants would furnish were
they not thus eaten down, but it is also due in part to the larger share
of soil moisture that is thus left for the clover plants. Pasturing
clover sown thus should be avoided when the ground is so wet as to poach
or become impact in consequence. Unless on light, spongy soils which
readily lose their moisture, such grazing should not begin until the
plants have made considerable growth, nor should it be too close, or
root development in the pastures will be hindered.

It would not be possible to fix the stage of growth when the grazing
should begin on clover fields kept for pasture subsequent to the season
of sowing. The largest amount of food would be furnished if grazing were
deferred until the blossoming stage were reached and the crop were then
grazed down quickly. But this is not usually practicable, hence the
grazing usually begins at a period considerably earlier. In general,
however, the plants should not be grazed down very closely, or growth
will be more or less hindered.

Grazing clover in the spring and somewhat closely for several weeks
after growth begins, has been thought conducive to abundant seed
production. This result is due probably to the greater increase in the
seed heads that follow such grazing. This would seem to explain why
clover that has been judiciously grazed produces even more seed than
that clipped off by the mower after it has begun to grow freely.

In nearly all localities the grazing of medium red clover, and even of
mammoth clover, somewhat closely in the autumn of the second year, is to
be practised rather than avoided. These two varieties being essentially
biennial in their habit of growth will not usually survive the second
winter, even though not grazed, hence not to graze them would result in
a loss of the pasture.

With nearly all kinds of clover there is some danger from bloat in
grazing them with cattle or sheep while yet quite succulent, and the
danger is intensified when the animals are turned in to graze with empty
stomachs or when the clover is wet with dew or rain. When such bloating
occurs, for the method of procedure see page 95. The danger that bloat
will be produced is lessened in proportion as other grasses abound in
the pastures.

=Harvesting.=--All the varieties of clover, except alfalfa, are best cut
for hay when in full bloom. Here and there a head may have turned brown.
If cut earlier, the crop is difficult to cure, nor will it contain a
maximum of nutriment. If cut later it loses much in palatability.
Alfalfa should be cut a little earlier, or just when it is nicely coming
into bloom, as if cut later the shedding of the leaves in the curing is
likely to be large.

All clovers are much injured by exposure to rain or dew. They will also
lose much if cured in the swath, without being frequently stirred with
the tedder; that is, it will take serious injury if cured in the swath
as it fell from the mower. If cured thus, it will lose in aroma and
palatability, through the breaking of leaves and, consequently, in
feeding value. To avoid these losses, clover is more frequently cured in
the cock. When cured thus, it preserves the bright green color, the
aroma and the tint of the blossoms, it is less liable to heat in the mow
or stack and is greatly relished by live stock when fed to them.

To cure it thus, it is usually tedded once or twice after it has lost
some of its moisture. It is then raked as soon as it is dried enough to
rake easily, and put up into cocks. When the quantity to be cured is not
large caps are sometimes used to cover the cocks to shed the rain when
the weather is showery. These are simply square strips of some kind of
material that will shed rain, weighted at the corners to keep them from
blowing away. The clover remains in the cocks for two or three days, or
until it has gone through the "sweating" process. Exposure to two or
three showers of rain falling at intervals while partially cured in the
swath or winrow will greatly injure clover hay.

When the area to be harvested is large, clover is sometimes cured in the
swath. When thus cured it is stirred with the tedder often enough to aid
in curing the hay quickly. It is then raked into winrows and drawn from
these to the place of storage. In good weather clover may be cured thus
so as to make fairly good hay, but not so good as is made by the other
method of curing. It is much more expeditiously made, but there is some
loss in leaves, in color and in palatability.

Some farmers cure clover by allowing it to wilt a little after it is
cut, and then drawing and storing it in a large mow. They claim that it
must be entirely free from rain or dew when thus stored. This plan of
curing clover has been successfully practised by some farmers for many
years; others who have tried it have failed, which makes it evident that
when stored thus, close attention must be given to all the details
essential to success.

Clover may also be cured in the silo. While some have succeeded in
making good ensilage, in many cases it has not proved satisfactory. The
time may come when the conditions to be observed in making good silage
from clover will be such that the element of hazard in making the same
will be removed. In the meantime, it will usually be more satisfactory
to cure clover in the ordinary way.

Grasses cure more easily and more quickly than clovers. Consequently,
when these are grown together so that the grasses form a considerable
proportion of the hay, the methods followed in curing the grasses will
answer also for the clovers. For these methods the reader is referred to
the book "Grasses and How to Grow Them" by the author. The influence
that grasses thus exert on the growing of clovers furnishes a weighty
reason for growing them together.

=Storing.=--Clovers are ready to store when enough moisture has left the
stems to prevent excessive fermentation when put into the place of
storage. Hay that has been cured in the cock is much less liable to heat
when stored so as to produce mould, than hay cured in the swath or
winrow. The former has already gone through the heating process or, at
least, partially so. Some experience is necessary to enable one to be
quite sure as to the measure of the fitness of hay for being stored.
When it can be pitched without excessive labor it is ready for being
stored, but the unskilled will not likely be able to judge of this
accurately. If a wisp is taken some distance from the top of the winrow
or cock and twisted between the hands, if moisture exudes it is too
damp, and if the hay breaks asunder readily it is too dry. When no
moisture is perceptible and yet the wisp does not break asunder, the hay
is ready to be drawn. Care must be taken that the wisp chosen be
representative of the mass of the hay. To make sure of this, the test
should be applied several times.

Where practicable the aim should be to store clover hay under cover,
owing to the little power which it has to shed rain in the stack. This
is only necessary, however, in climates with considerable rainfall
during the year and where irrigation is practised, as in the mountain
States clover hay may be kept in the stack without any loss from rain,
and it can be cured exactly as the ranchman may desire, since he is
never embarrassed when making hay by bad weather. When storing clovers,
the time of the day at which it is stored influences the keeping
qualities of the hay. Hay stored at noontide may keep properly, whereas,
if the same were stored while dew is falling it might be too damp for
being thus stored.

Much care should be taken in stacking clover hay that it may shed rain
properly. The following should be observed among other rules of less
importance that may be given: 1. Make a foundation of rails, poles or
old straw or hay that will prevent the hay near the ground from taking
injury from the ground moisture. 2. Keep the heart of the stack highest
from the first and the slope gradual and even from the center toward the
sides. 3. Keep the stack evenly trodden, or it will settle unevenly, and
the stack will lean to one side accordingly. 4. Increase the diameter
from the ground upward until ready to draw in or narrow to form the top.
5. Aim to form the top by gradual rather than abrupt narrowing. 6. Top
out by using some other kind of hay or grass that sheds the rain better
than clover. 7. Suspend weights to some kind of ropes, stretching over
the top of the stack to prevent the wind from removing the material put
on to protect the clover from rain.

=Feeding.=--The clovers furnish a ration more nearly in balance than
almost any other kind of food. If the animals to which they are fed
could consume enough of them to produce the desired end, concentrated
foods would not be wanted. They are so bulky, however, relatively, that
to horses and mules at work, to dairy cows in milk and cattle that are
being fattened, to sheep under similar conditions, and to swine, it is
necessary to add the concentrated grain foods, more or less, according
to the precise object. But for horses, mules, cattle, sheep and goats
that are growing subsequent to the weaning stage, and for mature animals
of these respective classes not producing, that is, not yielding
returns, a good quality of clover hay will suffice for a considerable
time at least without the necessity of adding any other food.

It is considered inferior to timothy as a fodder for horses. This
preference is doubtless owing largely to the fact, first, that clover
breaks up more and loses more leaves when being handled, especially when
being transported; and second, that clover is frequently cured so
imperfectly as to create dust from over-fermentation or through breaking
of the leaves, because of being over-dried, and the dust thus created is
prejudicial to the health of these animals. It tends to produce
"heaves." This may in part be obviated by sprinkling the hay before it
is fed. When clover is properly cured, it is a more nutritious hay than
timothy, and is so far preferable for horses, but since timothy
transports in much better form, it is always likely to be more popular
in the general market than clover. The possibility of feeding clover to
horses for successive years without any evils resulting is made very
apparent from feeding alfalfa thus in certain areas of the West.

Clover hay is specially useful as a fodder for milk-producing animals,
owing to the high protein content which it contains. Dairymen prefer it
to nearly all kinds of fodders grown, and the same is true of shepherds.
When very coarse, however, a considerable proportion of the stems is
likely to be left uneaten, especially by sheep. Because of this it
should be the aim to grow it so that this coarseness of stem will not be
present. This is accomplished, first, by growing it thickly, and second,
by growing the clovers in combination with one another and also with
certain of the grasses.

Clovers are especially helpful in balancing the ration where corn is the
principal food crop grown. The protein of the clover crop aids greatly
in balancing the excess of carbo-hydrates in the corn crop, hence much
attention should be given to the production of clovers in such areas.

=Renewing.=--Because of the comparatively short life of several of the
most useful of the varieties of clover, no attempt is usually made to
renew them when they fail, unless when growing in pasture somewhat
permanent in character. To this, however, there may be some exceptions.
On certain porous soils it has been found possible to maintain medium
red clover and also the mammoth and alsike varieties for several years
by simply allowing some of the seed to ripen in the autumn, and in this
way to re-seed the land, a result made possible through moderate grazing
of the meadow in the autumn, and in some instances through the absence
of grazing altogether, as when the conditions may not be specially
favorable to the growth of clover.

It is not uncommon, however, to renew alfalfa, by adding more seed when
it is disked in the spring, as it sometimes is to aid in removing weeds
from the land. The results vary much with the favorableness of the
conditions for growing alfalfa or the opposite.

In pastures more or less permanent in character, clovers may be renewed
by disking the ground, adding more clover seed, and then smoothing the
surface by running over it the harrow, and in some instances also the
roller. This work is best done when the frost has just left the ground
for a short distance below the surface.

Some kinds of clover are so persistent in their habit of growth that
when once in the soil they remain, and therefore do not usually require
renewal. These include the small white, the yellow, the Japan, burr
clover and sweet clover. In soils congenial to these respective
varieties, the seeds usually remain in the soil in sufficient quantities
to restock the land with plants when it is again laid down to grass.
Nearly all of these varieties are persistent seed producers; hence, even
though grazed, enough seed is formed to produce another crop of plants.

=Clovers as Soil Improvers.=--All things considered, no class of plants
grown upon the farm are so beneficent in the influence which they exert
upon the land as clovers. They improve it by enriching it; they improve
it mechanically; and they aid plant growth by gathering and
assimilating, as it were, food for other plants.

All clovers have the power of drawing nitrogen from the air and
depositing the same in the tubercles formed on the roots of the plants.
These tubercles are small, warty-like substances, which appear during
the growing season. They are more commonly formed on the roots within
the cultivable area, and therefore are easily accessible to the roots of
the plants which immediately follow. Clovers are not equally capable of
thus drawing nitrogen from the air, nor are the same varieties equally
capable of doing this under varying conditions. The relative
capabilities of varieties to thus deposit nitrogen in the soil is by no
means equal, but up to the present time it would seem correct to say
that relative capability in all of these has not yet been definitely
ascertained. With reference to the whole question much has yet to be
learned, but it is now certain that in all, or nearly all, instances in
which clovers are grown on land, they leave it much richer in nitrogen
than it was when they were sown upon the same.

They also add to the fertility of the surface soil by gathering plant
food in the subsoil below where many plants feed. They have much power
to do this, because they are deep rooted and they are strong feeders;
that is, they have much power to take up food in the soil or subsoil.
Part of the food thus gathered in the subsoil helps to form roots in the
cultivable area and part aids in forming top growth for pasture or for
hay. If grazed down or if made into hay and fed so that the manure goes
back upon the land the fertility of the same is increased in all leading
essentials. This increase is partly made at the expense of the fertility
in the subsoil. But the stores of fertility in the subsoil are such
usually as to admit of thus being drawn upon indefinitely.

Clovers improve soils mechanically by rendering them more friable, by
giving them increased power to hold moisture, and by improving drainage
in the subsoil. Of course, they have not the power to do this equally,
but they all have this power in degree and in all the ways that have
been named.

Clovers send down a tap root into the soil and subsoil as they grow.
From the tap roots branch off lateral roots in an outward and downward
direction. From these laterals many rootlets penetrate through the soil.
When the plants are numerous, these roots and rootlets fill the soil.
When it is broken up, therefore, particles of soil are so separated that
they tend to fall apart, hence the soil is always made more or less
friable, even when it consists of the stiffest clays. The shade
furnished by the clover also furthers friability. This friability makes
the land easier to work, and it is also more easily penetrated by the
roots of plants. The influence on aeration is also marked. The air can
more readily penetrate through the interstices in the soil, and, in
consequence, chemical changes in the soil favorable to plant growth are
facilitated.

The roots of clovers are usually so numerous that they literally fill
the soil with vegetable matter. This matter, in process of decay,
greatly increases the power of the soil to hold moisture, whether it
falls from the clouds or ascends from the subsoil through capillary
attraction. The moisture thus held is greatly beneficial to the plants
that immediately follow, especially in a dry season and in open soils,
and the influence thus exerted frequently goes on, though with
decreasing potency, for two, three or four seasons.

Reference has already been made to the tap root which clover sends down
into the soil and subsoil. In the strong varieties this tap root goes
down deeply. When the crop is plowed up, the roots decay, and when they
do, for a time at least, they furnish channels down which the surface
water percolates, if present in excess. Thus it is that clover aids in
draining lands under the conditions named. The channels thus opened do
not close immediately with the decay of the clover roots, hence the
downward movement of water in the soil is facilitated for some time
subsequently.

It has been stated that clovers have more power than some other plants
to gather plant food in the soil. In some instances they literally fill
the soil with their roots. When other plants are sown after the clover
has been broken up they feed richly on the decaying roots of the clover.
Thus it is that clover gathers food for other plants which they would
not be so well able to gather for themselves, and puts it in a form in
which it can be easily appropriated by these. The nitrogen in clover is
yielded up more gradually and continuously as nitrates than it could be
obtained from any form of top dressings that can be given to the land.
In this fact is found one important reason why cereal grains thrive so
well after clover.

Since the roots of clovers act so beneficently on soils, it is highly
important that they be increased to the greatest extent practicable.
Owing to the relation between the growth of the roots of plants and the
parts produced above ground, development in root growth is promoted much
more when the clover is cut for hay than when it is fed off by grazing.
Experiments have also demonstrated that the development of root growth
is much enhanced in medium red clover by taking a second cutting for
hay or seed. They have also demonstrated that more nitrogen is left in
the soil by clover roots after a seed crop than after a crop of hay.

From what has been said, it will be apparent that the extent to which
clovers enrich the soil will depend upon the strength of the growth of
the plants and certain other conditions. It will not be possible to
reduce to figures the additions in plant food which clovers add to the
soil other than in a comparative way. Dr. Voelker has stated that there
is fully three times as much nitrogen in a crop of clover as in the
average produce of the grain and straw of wheat per acre. Dr. Kedzie is
on record as having said that in the hay or sod furnished by a good crop
of clover, there is enough nitrogen for more than four average crops of
wheat, enough phosphoric acid for more than two average crops and enough
of potash for more than six average crops. He has said, moreover, that
the roots and stubble contain fully as much of these elements as hay.

It will also be apparent that where clover grows in good form no cheaper
or better way can be adopted in manuring land, and that in certain areas
the judicious use of land plaster on the clover hastens the renovating
process. It is thought that in some instances the mere loading and
spreading of barnyard manure costs more than the clover and plaster.
Especially will this be true of fields distant from the farm steading.
It is specially important, therefore, that in enriching these, clover
will be utilized to the fullest extent practicable.

=Clover as a Weed Destroyer.=--Where clover is much grown, at least in
some of its varieties, it becomes an aid in reducing the prevalence of
many forms of weed growth. It is thus helpful in some instances, because
of the number of the cuttings secured; in others because of its
smothering tendencies, and in yet others because of the season of the
year when it is sown and harvested or plowed under, as the case may be.

Alfalfa and medium red clover are cut more frequently than the other
varieties and, therefore, because of this, render more service than
these in checking weed growth. The former is cut so frequently as to
make it practically impossible for most forms of annual weed life to
mature seed in the crop. The same is true of biennials and also
perennials. But there are some forms of perennial weeds which multiply
through the medium of their rootstocks that may eventually crowd
alfalfa. Medium red clover is usually cut twice a year, hence, in it
annuals and biennials cannot mature seed, except in exceptional
instances, and because of the short duration of its life, perennials
have not time to spread so as to do much harm.

The clovers that are most helpful in smothering weeds are the mammoth,
the medium and the alsike varieties. These are thus helpful in the order
named. To accomplish such an end they must grow vigorously, and the
plants must be numerous on the ground. When grown thus, but few forms of
weed life can make any material headway in the clover crop. Even
perennials may be greatly weakened, and in some instances virtually
smothered by such growth of clover. To insure a sufficient growth of
clover it may be advantageous to top dress the crop with farmyard manure
sufficiently decayed, and in the case of medium red clover to dress the
second cutting with land plaster. If the second growth is plowed under,
subsequent cultivation of the surface will further aid in completing the
work of destruction.

The crimson variety is sown and also harvested at such a time that the
influence on weed eradication is very marked. The ground is usually
prepared in the summer and so late that weeds which sprout after the
clover has been sown cannot mature the same autumn. In the spring it is
harvested before any weeds can ripen. When plowed under, rather than
harvested, the result is the same.

When clover is grown in short rotations, its power to destroy weeds is
increased. For instance, when the medium red or mammoth varieties are
grown in the three years' rotation of corn or some root crop, followed
by grain seeded with clover, the effects upon weed eradication are very
marked, if the cultivation given to the corn or roots is ample. Under
such a system weeds could be virtually prevented from maturing seeds at
any time, especially if the medium variety of clover were sown, and if
the stubbles were mown some time subsequent to the harvesting of the
grain crop. Such a system of rotation faithfully carried out for a
number of years should practically eradicate all, or nearly all, the
noxious forms of weed life.

=Clover Sickness.=--On certain of the soils of Great Britain and
probably on those of other countries in Europe, where clover has been
grown quite frequently and for a long period, as good crops cannot be
grown as previously, and in some instances the crop is virtually a
failure. The plants will start from seed in the early spring and grow
with sufficient vigor for a time, after which they will show signs of
wilting and finally they die. Various theories were advanced for a time
as to the cause before it was ascertained by experiment what produced
these results. Some thought they arose from lack of water in the soil,
others claimed that they were due to the presence of parasites, which in
some way preyed upon the roots, others again attributed them to improper
soil conditions. It is now just about certain that they arose from a
deficiency of soluble potash in the subsoil. Such, at least, was the
conclusion reached by Kutzleb as the result of experiments conducted
with a view to ascertain the cause of clover wilt.

The cause being known, the remedy is not difficult. It is to grow clover
less frequently on such soils. Sufficient time must be given to enable
more of the inert potash in the subsoil to become available. Another way
would be to apply potash somewhat freely to these soils, and subsoil
them where this may be necessary.

It is thought that clover sickness is as yet unknown in the United
States and Canada, although its presence had sometimes been suspected in
some sections where clover has been much grown. This does not mean that
it may not yet come to this country. Should the symptoms given above
appear on soils on which clover has been grown frequently and for a long
period, it would be the part of wisdom to take such indications as a
hint to grow clover less frequently in the rotation.

=Possible Improvement in Clovers.=--Some close observers have noticed
that there is much lack of uniformity in the plants found growing in an
ordinary field of clover, especially of the medium red and mammoth
varieties. Many of the plants vary in characteristics of stem, leaf,
flower and seed; in the size and vigor of the plants; in the rapidity
with which they grow; and in earliness or lateness in maturing. So great
are these differences that it may be said they run all the way from
almost valueless to high excellence. Here, then, is a wide-open door of
opportunity for improving clover plants through selection. This question
has not been given that attention in the past which its importance
demands.

There may be a difference in view as to all the essential features of
improvement that are to be sought for, but there will probably be
agreement with reference to the following in desirable varieties: 1.
They will have the power to grow quickly and continuously under average
conditions. This power will render them valuable as pasture plants in
proportion as they possess it. 2. They will produce many stems not too
coarse in character. This will affect favorably the character of the hay
and will also have a bearing on increase in the production of seed. 3.
There should be an abundance of leaves. Such production will affect
favorably palatability in the pasture and also in the hay. 4. The
blossoms should be so short that the honey which they contain may be
accessible to the ordinary honey bee. The importance of this
characteristic cannot be easily overestimated. It would not only tend to
a great increase in seed production through the favorable influence
which it would have on fertilization, but it would greatly increase the
honey harvest that would be gathered every year, and 5. They should be
possessed of much vigor and hardihood; that is, they should have much
power to grow under adverse conditions, as of drought and cold. The
person who will furnish a variety of red clover possessed of these
characteristics will confer a boon on American agriculture.

=Bacteria and Clovers.=--The fact has long been known, even as long ago
as the days of Pliny, and probably much before those days, that clover,
when grown in the rotation, had the power to bring fertility to the
soil. This fact was generally recognized in modern agriculture and to
the extent, in some instances, of giving it a place even in the short
rotations. But until recent decades, it was only partially known how
clover accomplished such fertilization. It was thought it thus gathered
fertility by feeding deeply in the subsoil, and through the plant food
thus gathered, the root system of the plants were so strengthened in the
cultivated surface section of soil as to account for the increased
production in the plants that followed clover. According to this view,
the stems and leaves of the plants were thus equally benefited and,
consequently, when these were plowed under where they had grown these
also added plant food to the cultivated portion of the soil, in addition
to what it possessed when the clover seed which produced the plants was
sown upon it. In brief, this theory claimed that fertility was added by
the clover plants gathering fertility in the subsoil and depositing it
so near the surface that it became easily accessible to the roots of
other plants sown after the clover and which had not the same power of
feeding so deeply. This theory was true in part. The three important
elements of plant food, nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potash, were and
are thus increased in the soil, but this does not account for the source
from which the greater portion of the nitrogen thus deposited in the
soil was drawn, as will be shown below.

It was also noticed that when the seed of any variety of clover was sown
on certain soils, the plants would grow with more or less vigor for a
time and then they would fail to make progress, and in some instances
would perish. It was further noticed that if farmyard manure was applied
freely to such land, the growth made was more vigorous. Yet, again, it
was noticed that by sowing clover at short intervals on such soils, the
improvement in the growth of the plants was constant. But it was not
understood why clover plants behaved thus under the conditions named. It
is now known that ill success at the first was owing to the lack of
certain micro-organisms, more commonly termed bacteria, in the soil,
the presence of which are essential to enable clover plants to secure
additional nitrogen to that found in the soil and subsoil on which to
feed. When manure was applied, as stated above, the clover plants
secured much or all of their nitrogen from the manure. Bacteria were
introduced in very limited numbers at first, it may be through the
medium of the seed or in some other way, and because of an inherent
power which they possess to increase rapidly in connection with
continued sowing of clover at short intervals, they came at length to be
so numerous in the soil as to make possible the growth of good crops of
clover where these could not be thus grown a few years previously.

Careful observers had noticed that certain warty-like substances were
found attached to the roots of clover plants, and that the more
vigorously the plants grew, the larger and more numerous were these
substances, as a rule. It was thought by many that these warty
substances, now spoken of as nodules, were caused by worms biting the
roots or because of some unfavorable climatic influence or abnormal
condition of soil. It is now known that they are owing to the presence
of bacteria, whose special function is the assimilation of free nitrogen
obtained in the air found in the interstices; that is, the air spaces
between the particles of soil. This they store up in the nodules for the
use of the clover plants and also the crops that shall follow them.

The nodules in clover plants vary in size, from a pin head to that of a
pea, and they are frequently present in large numbers. Bacteria are
present within them in countless myriads. They gain an entrance into
the plant through the root hairs. The exact way in which benefit thus
comes to the clover plants is not fully understood, but it is now quite
generally conceded that the nitrogen taken in by these minute forms of
life is converted into soluble compounds, which are stored in the
tissues of the roots, stems and leaves of the plants, thus furnishing an
explanation to the increased vigor. It cannot be definitely ascertained
at present, if, indeed, ever, what proportion of the nitrogen in clover
is taken from the air and from the soil, respectively, since it will
vary with conditions, but when these are normal, it is almost certain
that by far the larger proportion comes from the air. But it has been
noticed that when soil is freely supplied with nitrogen, as in liberal
applications of farmyard manure, the plants do not form nodules so
freely as when nitrogen is less plentiful in the soil. The inference
would, therefore, seem to be correct, that when plants are well supplied
with nitrogen in the soil they are less diligent, so to speak, in
gathering it from the air. In other words, clover plants will take more
nitrogen from the air when the soil is more or less nitrogen hungry than
when nitrogen abounds in the soil. And yet the plants should be able to
get some nitrogen from the soil in addition to what the seed furnishes
to give them a vigorous start.

This power to form tubercles, and thus to store up nitrogen, is by no
means confined to clovers. It is possessed by all legumes, as peas,
beans and vetches. It is claimed that some of these, as soy beans, cow
peas and velvet beans, have even greater power to gather nitrogen from
the air and store it in the soil than clover, since the nodules formed
on the roots of these are frequently larger. In some instances, on the
roots of the velvet bean they grow in clusters as large as an ordinary
potato. With reference to all these leguminous plants it has been
demonstrated that under proper conditions good crops may be grown and
removed from the soil and leave it much richer in nitrogen than when the
seed was sown. It is thus possible by sowing these crops at suitable
intervals to keep the soil sufficiently supplied with nitrogen to grow
good crops other than legumes, adapted to the locality, without the
necessity for purchasing the nitrogen of commerce in any of its forms.
They may be made to more than maintain the supply of nitrogen,
notwithstanding the constant loss of the same by leeching down into the
subsoil in the form of nitrates, and through the more or less constant
escape of the same into the air in the form of ammonia, during those
portions of the year when the ground is not frozen.

They will do this in addition to the food supplies which they furnish,
hence they may be made to supply this most important element of
fertility, and by far the most costly when purchased in the market,
virtually without cost. The favorable influences which these plants thus
exert upon crop production is invaluable to the farmer. They make it
possible for him to be almost entirely independent of the nitrogen of
commerce, which, at the rate of consumption during recent years, will
soon be so far reduced as to be a comparatively insignificant factor in
its relation to crop production. It is possible, however, and not
altogether improbable, that by the aid of electricity a manufactured
nitrate of soda or of potash may be put upon the market at a price which
will put it within reach of the farmer. The power of legumes to increase
the nitrogen content in the soil should allay apprehension with
reference to the possible exhaustion of the world's supply of nitrogen,
notwithstanding the enormous waste of the same in various ways.

The more common sources of loss in nitrogen are, first, through the
leeching of nitrates into the drainage water; second, through oxidation;
third, through the use of explosives in war; and fourth, through the
waste of the sewerage of cities. When plant and animal products are
changed into soluble nitrates, they are usually soon lost to the soil,
unless taken up by the roots of plants. When vegetable matter on or near
the surface of the ground is broken down and decomposed, in the process
of oxidation, there is frequently much loss of nitrogen, as in the rapid
decomposition of farmyard manure in the absence of some material, as
land plaster, to arrest and hold the escaping ammonia. Through
explosives used in war there is an enormous vegetable loss of nitrogen,
as nitrate salts, which should rather be used to preserve and sustain
life than to destroy it. The waste of nitrogen through the loss of
sewerage is enormous, nor does there seem to be any practicable way of
saving the bulk of it.

In many soils the germs which produce nodules are present when clovers
are first grown on them. But where they are not present, the clover
plants have no more power to gather nitrogen than wheat or other
non-leguminous crops. But since in other soils they are almost entirely
absent, how shall they be introduced? The process of introducing them is
generally referred to as a process of inoculation, and soils when
treated successfully are said to be inoculated.

Three methods have been adopted. By the first, as previously indicated,
the grower perseveres in sowing clover at short intervals in the
rotation. He may also add farmyard manure occasionally, and thus,
through the inherent power of multiplication in the bacteria, they
increase sufficiently to enable the land to grow good crops. By the
second method, inoculating is effected through soil which is possessed
of the requisite bacteria; and by the third, it is effected through the
aid of a prepared product named nitragin.

When fields are to be inoculated by using soil it is obtained from areas
which have grown clovers successfully quite recently, and which are,
therefore, likely to be well filled with the desired bacteria. In some
instances the seed is mixed with the soil and these are sown together.
To thus mix the seed with the soil and then sow both together broadcast
or with a seed drill is usually effective, and it is practicable when
minimum quantities of soil well laden with germs are used. In other
instances the soil containing germs is scattered broadcast before or
soon after the seed is sown. Considerable quantities of earth must needs
be applied by this method.

It should be remembered that each class of legumes has its own proper
bacteria. Because of this, inoculation can only, or at least chiefly, be
effected through the use of soils on which that particular class of
legumes have grown, or which are possessed of bacteria proper to that
particular species. In other words, bacteria necessary to the growth of
vetches will not answer for the growth of clovers, and _vice versa_. Nor
will the bacteria requisite to grow medium red clover answer for growing
alfalfa. In other words, the bacteria proper to the growth of one member
of even a family of plants will not always answer for the growth of
another member of the same. But in some instances it is thought that it
will answer. The study of this phase of the question has not yet
progressed far enough to reflect as much light upon it as could be
desired. It is certainly known, however, that alfalfa will grow on soils
that grow burr clover (_Medicago maculata_) and sweet clover (_Melilotus
alba_), hence the inference that soil from fields of either will
inoculate for alfalfa.

Nitragin is the name given by certain German investigators to a
commercial product put upon the market, which claims to be a pure
culture of the root tubercle organism. These cultures were sold in the
liquid form, and it was customary when using them to treat the seed with
them before it was planted. Their use has been largely abandoned,
because of the few successes which followed their use compared with the
many failures. But it is now believed that these cultures can be
prepared and used so as to be generally effective and without excessive
cost to the grower.

In preparing cultures it has been found that by gradually reducing the
amount of nitrogen in the culture of media, it is possible to increase
the nitrogen fixing power in these germs from five to ten times as much
as usually occurs in nature. It is now known that the bacteria thus
grown upon nitrogen free media retain high activity if carefully dried
and then revived in liquid media at the end of the varying lengths of
time. Some absorbent is used to soak up the tubercle-forming organisms.
The cultures are then allowed to dry, and when in that condition they
can be safely sent to any part of the country without losing their
efficacy. It is necessary to revive the dry germs by immersing them in
water. By adding certain nutrient salts the bacteria are greatly
increased if allowed to stand for a limited time--as short, in some
instances, as 24 hours. The culture thus sent out in a dry form, and no
larger than a yeast cake, may thus be made to furnish bacteria
sufficient to inoculate not less than an acre of land. It is stated that
the amount of inoculating material thus obtained is only limited by the
quantity of the nutrient water solution used in increasing the germs, so
that the cost of inoculating land by this process is not large. The
culture may be applied by simply soaking the seed in it, by spraying the
soil, or by first mixing the culture into earth, spreading it over the
field and then harrowing it. Inoculations thus tried under the
supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture have proved
quite successful.

Where any legume is extensively grown surrounding soils come to be
inoculated through the agency of winds and water. The increase brought
to the yield of plants on various soils runs all the way from a slight
gain to 1000-fold. And when soil is once inoculated it remains so for a
long time, even though the proper legume should not be grown again on
the same soil.

The amount of nitrogen that may thus be brought to many soils by growing
clover and other legumes upon them is only hedged in practically by the
nature of the rotation fixed upon. An acre of clover when matured will
sometimes add 200 to 300 pounds of nitrogen to the soil under favorable
conditions. Where the soil contains the requisite bacteria, the young
plants begin to form tubercles when but a few weeks old, and continue to
do so while the plant is active until mature. That the plants use much
of the nitrogen while growing would seem to be clear, from the fact that
toward the close of the growing season the tubercles become more or less
broken down and shrunken.



CHAPTER III

MEDIUM RED CLOVER


Medium Red Clover (_Trifolium pratense_) is also known by the names
Common Red Clover, Broad-Leaved Clover and Meadow Trefoil. The term
medium has doubtless come to be applied to it because the plants are in
size intermediate between the Mammoth variety (_Trifolium magnum_) and
the smaller varieties, as the Alsike (_Trifolium hybridum_) and the
small white (_Trifolium repens_). But by no designation is it so
frequently referred to as that of Red Clover.

This plant is spreading and upright in its habit of growth. Several
branches rise up from the crown of each plant, and these in turn
frequently become branched more or less in their upward growth. The
heads which produce the flowers are nearly globular in shape, inclining
to ovate, and average about one inch in diameter. Each plant contains
several heads, and frequently a large number when the growth is not too
crowded. When in full flower these are of a beautiful purple crimson,
hence, a field of luxuriant red clover is beautiful to look upon. The
stems of the plants are slightly hairy, and ordinarily they stand at
least fairly erect and reach the height of about one foot or more; but
when the growth is rank, they will grow much higher, even as high as 4
feet in some instances, but when they grow much higher than the average
given, the crop usually lodges. The leaves are numerous, and many of
them have very frequently, if not, indeed, always, a whitish mark in the
center, resembling a horseshoe. The tap roots go down deeply into the
soil. Usually they penetrate the same to about 2 feet, but in some
instances, as when subsoils are open and well stored with accessible
food, they go down to the depth of 5 or 6 feet. The tap roots are
numerously branched, and the branches extend in all directions. When
they are short, as they must needs be in very stiff subsoils and on thin
land underlaid with hard soil, the branches become about as large as the
tap roots. It has been computed that the weight of the roots in the soil
is about equal to the weight of the stem and leaves.

Medium red clover is ordinarily biennial in its habit of growth, but
under some conditions it is perennial. Usually in much of the
Mississippi basin it is biennial, especially on prairie soils. On the
clay loam soils of Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and some
other States, it is essentially biennial, but many of the plants will
survive for a longer period. In the mountain valleys in the Northwestern
States, and on the Pacific slope west of the Cascade Mountains, it is
perennial. Medium red clover meadows in these have been cut for several
successive years without re-seeding the crop. The duration of this plant
is also more or less influenced by pasturing as compared with cutting
for seed. Grazing the plants has the effect of prolonging the period of
their growth, while maturing seed from them has the opposite effect.

Medium red clover is characterized by a rapid growth. Seed sown in the
spring has in certain climates produced a crop of hay in 120 days from
the date of sowing. It is also most persistent in its growth from spring
until fall when sufficient moisture is present. In this property it far
outranks any of the other varieties of clover. It comes into bloom in
the South during the latter half of May and in the North during the
month of June, early or later, according to location, and in about sixty
days from the time that it is cut for hay. Ordinarily, a second cutting
of hay may be taken from it and still later some pasture.

It furnishes excellent pasture, soiling food and hay for nearly all
classes of live stock. While it is much relished by the stock, it is
probably not exceeded in its capacity for quick and prolonged growth
throughout the growing season by any pasture plant, except alfalfa. For
a similar reason it stands high as a soiling food. No other variety of
clover grown in America will furnish as much of either pasture or
soiling food. For animals producing milk and for young animals, the
pasture is particularly excellent. It is also the standard pasture for
swine where it can be grown, and where alfalfa is not a staple crop.
When the hay is well cured, it makes a ration in even balance for cattle
and sheep, and for horses it is equally good. The prejudice which exists
in some quarters against feeding it to horses has arisen, in part, at
least, from feeding it when improperly harvested, when over-ripe, when
damaged by rain, or by overcuring in the sun, or when it may have been
stored so green as to induce molding. It may also be fed with much
advantage to brood sows and other swine in winter.

As a soil improver, medium red clover is probably without a rival,
unless it be in mammoth clover, and in one respect it exceeds the
mammoth variety; that is, in the more prolonged season, during which it
may be plowed under as a green manure. Its quick growth peculiarly
adapts it to soil enrichment. For this reason, it is more sown than any
of the other varieties in the spring of the year, along with the small
cereal grains to be plowed under in the late autumn or in the following
spring, after the clover has made a vigorous start, since it produces
two crops in one season, the first crop may be harvested and the second
plowed under after having made a full growth. This can be said of no
other variety of clover. More enrichment is also obtained from the
falling of the leaves when two crops are grown than from the other
varieties.

The influence of this plant on weed destruction when grown for hay is
greater than with the other varieties of clover. This is owing in part
to the shade resulting from its rapid growth and in part to the two
cuttings which are usually made of the crop. These two cuttings prevent
the maturing of the seeds in nearly all annual weeds, and to a very
great extent in all classes of biennials. The power of this crop to
smother out perennials is also considerable, and when this is linked
with the weakening caused by the two cuttings, it sometimes proves
effective in completely eradicating for the time being this class of
weeds.

[Illustration: Fig. 2. Medium Red Clover (_Trifolium pratense_)
  Oregon Experiment Station]

=Distribution.=--Medium red clover is thought to be native to Europe. It
was probably introduced into England some time early in the seventeenth
century. That it was attracting attention about the middle of the
century or a little later, is rendered probable by the fact that it is
discussed at considerable length in the third edition of Blyth's
"Improver Improved," published in 1662, while it is not mentioned in the
first edition, published in 1650. It was doubtless introduced into the
United States by the early colonists and at sundry times.

Medium red clover will grow in good form only in the temperate zone,
since it cannot stand excessive heat or excessive cold. The northerly
limit of its successful growth in North America is somewhere about 50°
north latitude on the wind-swept prairies, but on suitable soils, and
protected somewhat by trees and winter snows, it will probably grow 10
degrees further to the north. In British Columbia, on the Pacific slope,
it will probably grow as far north as Alaska. But on prairies eastward
from the Rocky Mountains, it has not been grown with much success much
further north than 48°, unless under the eastern shadow of the Rocky
Mountains. Low temperatures in winter, where there is only a moderate
covering of snow, are far less fatal to clover plants than exposure to
the sweep of the cold winds. Even where the thermometer is not so low as
in the areas just referred to, such winds are particularly damaging to
the plants when they blow fiercely just after a thaw which has removed a
previous covering of snow. In some instances, one cold wave under the
conditions named has proved fatal to promising crops of clover over
extended areas.

In a general way, the southerly limit of vigorous and reliable growth
may be put at about 37°. But in some localities good crops may be grown
further South, especially in some parts of Tennessee. Nor would it be
correct to say that medium red clover grows at its best in many
localities much south of 38°. On the plateaus it can be grown further
South, where the soil is suitable.

This plant flourishes best in a moist climate. In fact, the abundance
and continuance of the growth for the season are largely dependent on
the amount of the precipitation, and on the distribution of the same
throughout the season. In climates in which it is usual for a long spell
of dry weather to occur in mid-summer, the plants will not make rapid
growth after the first cutting of the season; but under conditions the
opposite, they will grow continuously from spring until fall. Continuous
growth may be secured through all the season on irrigated land. Although
the plants root deeply, they will succumb under drought beyond a certain
degree, and in some soils the end comes much more quickly than on
others; on porous and sandy soils, it comes much sooner than on clays.
On the latter, drought must be excessive to destroy clover plants that
have been well rooted. White clover can withstand much heat when
supplied with moisture. Moderate temperatures are much more favorable to
its growth.

Spring weather, characterized by prolonged periods of alternate freezing
and thawing, is disastrous to the plants on dry soils, possessed of an
excess of moisture, when not covered with snow. They are gradually drawn
up out of the soil and left to die on the surface. In some instances,
the destruction of an otherwise fine stand is complete. In other
instances, it is partial, and when it is, a heavy roller run over the
land is helpful in firming the soil around the roots that have been thus
disturbed.

Medium red clover can be grown with some success in certain parts of
almost every State in the Union. But in paying crops it is not much
grown south of parallel 37°. With irrigation it grows most vigorously in
the mountain valleys between the Rocky and Cascade mountains, and
between about 37° and 50° north latitude. In these valleys its habit of
growth is perennial. Without irrigation, the highest adaptation, all
things considered, is found in Washington and Oregon, west of the
Cascades, except where shallow soils lying on gravels exist. East of the
mountains, the best crops are in the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana,
Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The soils
of Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, that have produced
hardwood timber, have unusually high adaptation to the growth of this
plant, and as the snow usually covers the ground in these areas in
winter, the crop may be relied upon with much certainty. But on the
sandy soils, which more or less abound in these areas, it does not
succeed so well. It has not yet proved a marked success in Western
Minnesota or in the Dakotas, owing in part probably to the lack of the
proper bacteria in the soil. Its growth in these localities, however, is
extending from year to year. Indiana and Ohio are great clover States,
and the same is true of much of Illinois and Iowa; but southward in
these States there is some hazard to the young plants from drought and
heat in summer, and to an occasional frost in winter when the ground is
bare.

East of the States named, it would probably be correct to say that the
highest adaptation is found in New York and Pennsylvania, particularly
the former, in many parts of which excellent crops are grown. In various
parts of the New England States good crops may also be grown. Much of
the soil in these is not sufficiently fertile to grow clover as it can
be grown in the more Central States. The same is true of the States of
Delaware, Maryland and Eastern Virginia, east of the Rocky Mountains,
south from the Canadian boundary and west from Minnesota, Iowa and
Missouri, but little success has heretofore attended the efforts to grow
medium red clover. This statement does not apply equally to Eastern
Nebraska and Kansas. Usually the climate is not moist enough in summer,
the sweep of the cold winds is too great in winter, the snowfall is
usually insufficient to protect the plants, and it may be also that the
requisite bacteria is lacking in the soil. Sometime, however, these
adverse conditions may in part be overcome by man's resourcefulness. In
parts of States that lie south of the 37th parallel, it may be found
profitable to grow crops of medium red clover; but in these, other
legumes, as crimson clover, cow peas and soy beans, will probably
furnish food more reliably and more cheaply.

In Canada the highest all-round adaptation for clover is in Ontario and
Quebec, unless it be the mountain valleys and tide lands of British
Columbia. Because of the high adaptation in the soil of the two
provinces first named, and the plentifulness of the snowfall, clover in
these is one of the surest of the crops grown. The maritime provinces of
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward's Island, particularly the
former, have soils a little too hungry to produce the highest returns in
clover. On the open prairies between Ontario and the Rocky Mountains,
not much success has attended the attempts to grow any kind of clover,
owing probably to present uncongeniality in soils and more especially in
climatic conditions. However, there are good reasons for believing that
with the introduction of hardy varieties and through the use of Northern
grown seed, an inoculated soil, where inoculation may be necessary, that
medium red clover will yet be grown over wide areas in all the provinces
of Northwestern Canada, south of and including the Saskatchewan valley.

=Soils.=--Fortunately, this most useful plant will grow in a
considerable variety of soils, though, of course, not equally well.
Highest in general suitability, probably, are clay loams underlaid with
a moderately porous clay subsoil. They should at the same time be moist
and reasonably well stored with humus. On such a soil, in a climate with
sufficient rainfall and properly distributed, a stand of clover should
be looked upon as reasonably certain any season when properly sown. It
would also be correct to say that on the volcanic soils of the mountain
States in the West, clover will grow equally well when supplied with
moisture, and in these it is also very tenacious of life.

Next in adaptation are what may be termed loam soils, also underlaid
with clay. The proportion of the clay in them will exercise an important
influence on the growth of the clover. Loamy sands will grow clover
better than sandy loams, although both are very suitable, the other
conditions being right.

It would seem to be correct to assign third place to stiff clays,
whether of the white or red cast. The better that these are supplied
with vegetable matter, and the more moist the season, the better is the
stand of the clover likely to be. In seasons that are generally
favorable, excellent crops of clover may be obtained from such soils,
but in dry seasons it is easy to secure a good stand of the plants. They
are also considerably liable to heave in these soils in the spring of
the year from the action of the frost. The more perfectly they are
drained, the less will be the injury from this source, but it is
scarcely possible to drain such lands so perfectly that there will be no
loss of clover plants in these from the source named in the winters,
characterized by frequent rains, accompanied by frequent alternations of
freezing and thawing. The loss from this source in such lands varies
from nothing at all to 100 per cent.

Nearly, if not equal to the former, are dark loam soils with a gravel or
sand drainage underneath, providing, first, that the sand and gravel do
not come too near the surface, and second, that the normal rainfall is
sufficient. On such soils it seldom fails to grow, is not liable to
heave in the winter or spring, and usually produces excellent crops when
these soils are properly tilled. It has special adaptation for being
grown on calcareous or limy soils. It also, usually, grows well on soils
underlaid with yellow clay of more or less tenacity.

The black humus soils of the prairie vary much in their suitability for
growing medium red clover. Much depends on the clay content in such
soils. The more of this element in them and the nearer an underlying
clay subsoil is to the surface, the better will this clover grow on
them. In large areas of the prairie, red clover will grow more
successfully on the subsoil when laid bare than when on the surface
soil. It has been the experience in many instances that when the humus
soils of the prairie, porous and spongy in character, were first tilled,
clover grew on them so shyly that it was difficult to get a good stand
of the same until it had been sown for several seasons successively or
at intervals. Eventually, good crops were grown on these lands, and are
now being grown on them. This was the experience that faced a majority
of the first settlers on the prairie where excellent crops are now being
grown, and it is the experience which faces many to-day, who are
located on sections of the prairie but newly broken.

Two reasons may be given by way of explanation, but these may not
furnish all the reasons for the experience just referred to. First, much
of the land was so porous in its nature that in dry seasons the young
plants perished for want of moisture. As such lands become worn through
cropping, they lie more firmly and compactly; hence, there is less loss
of moisture through the free penetration of the soil within a short
distance of the surface of the dry atmosphere. And second, the requisite
bacteria is not in these soils until it is brought to them by sowing
seed repeatedly, more or less of which grows, and in growing increases
the bacteria in the soil until that point is reached when good crops of
clover can be grown with the usual regularity.

The suitability of sandy and gravelly lands for growing clover depends
much on the amount of plant food which they contain, on the character of
the climate, and on the subsoil. Such soils when possessed of some loam
when underlaid with clay, and in a climate with 20 inches and more per
annum of rainfall, usually grow good crops of clover; but when
conditions the opposite prevail, the growth of this plant is precarious.
However, when sandy or gravelly soils low in fertility are underlaid
with the same and the rainfall is sufficient, good crops of clover may
be grown if these soils are first sufficiently supplied with vegetable
matter and then sufficiently fertilized.

Muck soils do not seem to have the proper elements for growing clover in
the best form. But when these have in them some clay, and especially
when they are underlaid with clay not distant from the surface, they
will grow good crops of clover, especially of the alsike variety. Thus
it is that lands which have grown black ash and tamarack generally make
good clover lands also. But clover will not succeed well on unreduced
peaty soils, since it is not able in these to gather food supplies. But
when sufficiently reduced, some kinds of clover will succeed better on
these than on some other soils.

Deposit soils, such as are found in the bottom lands of rivers and
streams, vary much in the suitability for growing clover, owing to the
great differences in the compositions; but since they are usually
possessed of sufficient friability, fertility and moisture, good crops
of clover may generally be grown upon them where the climatic conditions
are suitable. The injury from overflow on such soils will depend on the
depth of the same and its duration, also the season of the year when it
occurs. Overflow in the spring season before growth has begun, or when
it is about starting, will be helpful rather than harmful, especially if
some deposit is left on the land by the subsiding waters. But if the
overflow should be deep and of any considerable duration, and, moreover,
if it should occur when the clover was somewhat advanced in growth, and
in hot weather, the submergence of the clover would probably be fatal to
it.

It may be proper to state here that the lands which grow hardwood timber
will usually grow clover. By hardwood timber is meant such trees as
maple, beech, birch, oak, elm, basswood, butternut and walnut. Where
forests are found comprising one or more varieties of these trees
anywhere on this continent, and especially comprising several of them,
the conclusion is safe that medium red clover will grow, or, at least,
can be grown, on such soils. If a considerable sprinkling of pine trees
is found in the same, the indications are not changed in consequence.
Where the forest is largely composed of maple and birch, excellent crops
of clover may be looked for when the land has been cleared. But because
of what has been said, the conclusion must not be reached that clover
will not grow well under some conditions where soft woods abound, but
rather that where the former abound the indications of suitability for
clover production are more certain than where soft timbers abound.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Medium red clover may be made to precede or to
follow almost any crop that is grown upon the farm. Notwithstanding,
there are certain crops which it precedes or follows with much more
advantage than others. Since it brings nitrogen to the soil from the air
and deposits the same for the benefit of the crops that immediately
follow, it is advantageous to plant such crops after it as require much
nitrogen to make them productive, as, for instance, wheat. Since,
through the medium of its roots, it stores the ground with humus, such
crops should come after it as feed generously on humus, as, for
instance, corn and potatoes. And since it tends to lessen weed growth
through smothering, it may with advantage be followed by crops for which
a clean seed bed is specially advantageous, as flax. It may, therefore,
be followed with much advantage by wheat, oats or barley, corn and
sorghum in all their varieties, flax, potatoes, field roots, vegetables
and such small fruits as strawberries. Where wheat is a success it is
usually first grown among the small cereal grains after clover, since it
is less able to flourish under the conditions which become decreasingly
favorable in the years that follow the breaking up of the clover.
Whether wheat or flax, corn or potatoes should immediately follow the
growing of clover, should be determined in great part by the immediate
necessity for growing one or the other of these crops, but also to some
extent by the crops that are to follow them.

Clover may follow such crops as require cultivation while they are
growing, and of a character that will clean the soil. This means that it
may with advantage be made to follow corn, sorghum, potatoes or field
roots. It may also follow the summer fallow bare, or producing crops for
being plowed under where these come into the rotation. Of course, since
clover can to a considerable extent supply its own nitrogen, it may be
successfully grown on lands that are not clean, and that may not possess
high fertility, but when thus sown the nurse crop with which it is
usually sown is not likely to succeed well, because of the presence of
weeds in it, and from the same cause the quality of the first of the
clover is likely to be much impaired. The conditions of the time of
sowing are also less favorable for getting a stand of the seed.

There is probably no rotation in which clover may be grown with more
advantage than when it is made to alternate with corn or potatoes and
some small cereal grains, as wheat or oats, growing each crop for but
one season. Of course the clover must be sown with the grain and
harvested the following year, taking from it two cuttings. In no other
form of rotation, perhaps, can clover be used to better advantage, nor
would there seem to be any other way in which land may be made to
produce abundantly for so large a term of years without fertilization
other than that given to the soil by the clover. It would fully supply
the needs of the crops alternating with it in the line of humus, and
also in that of nitrogen. In time the supply of phosphoric acid and
potash might run low, but not for a long term of years. The cultivation
given to the corn and potatoes would keep the land clean. Fortunate is
the neighborhood in which a rotation may be practised, and fortunate are
the tillers of the soil who are in a position to adopt it.

Medium red clover may be followed with much advantage by certain catch
crops sown at various times through the season of growth. It may be
pastured in the spring for several weeks, and the land then plowed and
sowed with millet or rape, or planted with corn, sorghum, late potatoes,
or certain vegetables, or it may be allowed to grow for several weeks
and then plowed, to be followed by one or the other of these crops. It
may also be harvested for hay in time to follow it with millet or rape
for pasture, and under some conditions with fodder corn. But when the
stand of clover is good, it would usually be profitable to utilize the
clover for food rather than the crops mentioned, since doing so would
involve but little labor and outlay. After the second cutting for the
season, winter rye may be grown as a catch crop by growing it as a
pasture crop.

=Preparing the Soil.=--Speaking in a general way, it would be correct to
say that it would not be easy to get soil in too friable a condition for
the advantageous reception of medium red clover seed. In other words, it
does not often happen that soils are in too fine tilth to sow seed upon
them without such fineness resulting in positive benefit to the plants.
The exceptions would be clays of fine texture in climates subject to
rainfalls so heavy as to produce impaction. On the other hand, the
hazard would be even greater to sow clover on these soils when in a
cloddy condition. The rootlets would not then be able to penetrate the
soil with sufficient ease to find enough food and moisture to properly
nourish them. Some soils are naturally friable, and in these a tilth
sufficiently fine can be realized ordinarily with but little labor.
Other soils, as stiff clays, frequently require much labor to bring them
into the condition required. Usually, however, if sufficient time
elapses between the plowing of the land and the sowing of the seed, this
work may be materially lessened by using the harrow and roller
judiciously soon after rainfall.

When preparing prairie soils so open that they will lift with the wind,
the aim should be to firm them rather than to render them more open and
porous; otherwise they will not retain sufficient moisture to properly
sustain the young plants, if prolonged dry weather follows the sowing of
the seed. Plowing such land in the autumn aids in securing such density.
The same result follows summerfallowing the land or growing upon it a
cultivated crop after the bare fallow, or after the cultivated crop has
been harvested prior to the sowing of the clover seed, otherwise the
desired firmness of the land will be lessened, and weed seeds will be
brought to the surface, which will produce plants to the detriment of
the clover. In preparing such lands for the seed, cultivation near the
surface is preferable to plowing.

When the clover is sown late in the season, as is sometimes the case, in
locations where the winters are comparatively mild, the ground may be
made reasonably clean before the seed is sown, by stirring it
occasionally at intervals before sowing the seed. This is done with some
form of harrow or weeder, and, of course, subsequently to the plowing of
the land.

=Sowing.=--The time for sowing clover seed is influenced considerably by
the climatic conditions. Under some conditions it may be sown in the
early autumn. It may be thus sown in the Southern States and with much
likelihood that a stand will be secured, yet in some instances an
inauspicious winter proves disastrous to the plants: all things
considered, it is probably safer to sow clover in the South at that
season than the spring, when vegetation is beginning to start. It may
also succeed in some instances in areas well to the North when sown in
the early autumn, providing snow covers the ground all the winter, but
should the snow fail to come the subsequent winter, or fail to lie when
it does come, the clover plants would perish. The element of hazard,
therefore, is too great in northerly areas to justify sowing the seed
thus. But on the bench lands of the mountain valleys there may be
instances in which the seed may be sown so late in the autumn that it
will not sprout before winter sets in, but lies in the soil ready to
utilize the moisture, so all important in those areas, as soon as the
earliest growth begins in the spring.

The seed may be sown with no little assurance of success in the late
summer. But this can only be done where moisture is reasonably plentiful
from the time of sowing onward, and where the winters are not really
severe. In some of the Central States this method of sowing may succeed
reasonably well. Clover and timothy sown thus without any nurse crop
will produce a full crop the next season. When the seed is sown thus, it
may, of course, be made to follow a crop grown on the land the same
season. It may also insure a crop the following season, when the clover
seed sown the spring previously may for some reason have failed.

While medium red clover is frequently sown in the South and in some
areas of the far West in the months of January and February on the snow,
in the North it is usually sown in the early spring. This also is in a
great majority of instances the best time for sowing. In many locations
it may be sown with safety as soon as the winter snows have gone. On the
whole, the earlier that it is sown in the spring the better, that the
young plants may have all the benefit possible from the moisture, which
is more abundant than later. But there are certain areas, as, for
instance, in the northerly limits of the Mississippi basin, in which
young clover plants perish by frost after they have germinated. This,
however, does not happen very frequently. When the seed is sown on the
snow, or while the ground is yet in a honeycombed condition from early
frost, it must of necessity be sown early. But where the hazard is
present that the young plants will be killed by frost, it will be safer
to defer sowing the seed until it can be covered with the harrow when
sown.

Whether it will be more advisable to sow the seed on bare ground earlier
than the season when growth begins, or to sow later and cover with the
harrow, will depend to a considerable degree upon the soil and the
condition in which it happens to be. On timber soils newly cleaned the
early sowing would be quite safe where the young plants are not liable
to be killed after germination, because of the abundance of humus in
them. On the same soils, early sowing would probably be preferable, even
when much reduced in humus, providing they were in a honeycombed
condition at the time of sowing. This condition is far more
characteristic of clay and clay loam soils, than of those sandy in
texture. To sow the seed on clay soils that are worn would be to throw
it away, unless in a most favorable season for growth. The same would
prove true of the sandy soils low in humus, since these do not honeycomb
at any season. Seed sown on honeycombed ground falls into openings made
in the soil, and is covered by the action of the frost and the sun on
the same. The rule should be to defer sowing the seed where the ground
does not honeycomb until it can be covered with the harrow.

In some instances the seed is sown successfully just after a light fall
of snow in the spring. The seed is carried down into little crevices or
fissures in the soil when these are present, but the seed should not be
thus sown. Usually it is not quite safe to sow clover seed where the
winter snow still lingers to any considerable depth, lest much of it
should be carried down to the lower lands by the sudden melting of the
snows. The chief advantage of sowing before the ground can be harrowed
arises from the benefit which the young plants derive from the plentiful
supply of moisture in the soil at that season. They are more firmly
rooted than plants sown later, and, therefore, can better withstand the
dry weather that frequently characterizes the later months of the
summer. There is also the further advantage that the labor of harrowing
at a season that is usually a busy one is dispensed with.

Various modes of sowing clover seed have been adopted. Sometimes it is
sown by hand. In other instances a sower is used which is strapped to
the shoulder and turned with a crank. Sometimes the seed is sown by a
distributor, which is wheeled over the ground on a frame resembling that
of a wheelbarrow. Again, it is sown with a seeder attachment to the
ordinary grain drill or to the broadcast seeder, and yet again with the
grain in the ordinary drill tubes, or scattered with the same by the
broadcast seeder; which of these methods should be adopted will depend
on such conditions as relate to season, climate and soil.

The seed may be sown by hand at almost any time desired, whether it is
covered or not. The advantages of hand sowing are that it may be done
under some conditions when no other method will answer as well, as, for
instance, when it is sown upon snow or upon the ground honeycombed. The
disadvantages are that it takes more time than some of the other
methods, especially when the sower only scatters the seed with one hand,
that it cannot be thus sown when the wind blows stiffly or fitfully, and
most of all, only a limited number of persons who sow seed are thus able
to sow it with complete regularity. A still time should, if possible, be
chosen for hand sowing; such a time is usually found in the early
morning. When one hand is used, the seed may be sown from a light dish
or pail or sowing-bag, but when both hands are used a sowing-box or a
sowing-sack suspended in front of the breast is necessary. Clover seed
may be sown when a considerable breeze is blowing by having a due regard
to the wind. When facing it, the cast of seed should be low; when going
before the wind it should be high. But when the wind is blowing at
right angles, much care must be observed by the sower as to where he
walks, in relation to the cast that is being sown.

When the seed is sown on grain that has been drilled, the rows of grain
will suffice to serve as a guide to the sower, and when the grain is not
up, the drill marks may be made to serve the same end.

The advantages of the hand seeder held in place by straps are that the
sowing may be done by an individual who cannot sow by hand, that the
seed may be easily distributed and that it may be used with advantage in
sowing seed among brush. The disadvantages are that it cannot be used
when much wind is stirring, and when using it stakes are sometimes
necessary for the guidance of the sower.

The advantages from using the seeder wheeled over the ground are that
the work may be done by any one able to wheel the seeder, that the seed
is distributed evenly, that it may be sown when a fairly stiff wind is
blowing, and that stakes are not necessary for the guidance of the
sower, as the distance of the cast may be gauged at least fairly well by
the wheel marks made. One disadvantage is that it cannot be used with
much satisfaction on certain soils when the ground is cloddy or frozen,
or when it is wet. There is also the disadvantage to all three methods
of sowing by hand, that it is frequently necessary to provide a covering
for the seed by subsequently using the harrow.

The advantages from sowing with the seeder attachment to the grain drill
are that the seed may be made to fall before or behind the tubes as may
be desired, or it may be sown with the seed along with the grain, and
that when sown by any of these methods there is much saving of time as
compared with sowing by hand. In some sections of the prairie the seed
is sown with the grain drill by driving the same across the newly sown
grain rows. If necessary to insure sufficiently thin sowing, the seed
should be first mixed with some substance such as common salt.

In the moist areas of the upper Atlantic coast, Ontario and the Puget
Sound region, the seed is frequently made to fall behind the grain tubes
on clay and clay loam soils, and is covered by running the roller over
the ground subsequently; but in States more inland the seed is usually
made to fall before the drill tubes, when, in some instances, the sowing
of the grain will provide a sufficient covering; but in others the
harrow is used in addition, and sometimes both the harrow and the
roller. When clover seed is sown along with grain and by the same tubes,
it will in some soils be buried too deeply, but in others the objection
does not hold good. The young plants are also injured more by shade from
the grain, since they grow only in the line of the row along with the
grain, and yet this method of sowing clover seed in some localities
seems to answer reasonably well.

When the broadcast seeder is used in sowing clover seed, time is also
saved as compared with hand sowing, but the seed can only fall before
the seeder, and must, therefore, be given the same covering as the
grain, as, when the seed is sown with the grain drill, it will in some
instances be buried too deeply. In other instances it is not so.

The depth to which the seed of medium and other clovers ought to be
buried should vary with soil and climatic conditions, and with the
season of sowing. The more stiff the soil, the more moist the climate,
and the earlier that the seed is sown, the less the covering required,
and _vice versa_. As has been shown, under certain conditions (see page
22), early sown clover seed does not require any covering artificially
given, and sometimes when sown later, a reasonably copious rain will
provide sufficient covering, providing it falls quite soon after the
sowing of the seed. But in certain of the soft, open, spongy soils of
the prairie, it may sometimes be buried to the depth of at least 3
inches, with apparent benefit. Lower than 5 or 6 inches in any soil,
clover seed will not germinate till brought nearer the surface. On all
soils that lift with the wind, the seed should, as a rule, be buried
deeply. Ordinarily, from half an inch to an inch, or an approximation to
these distances, is considered a proper depth to bury clover seed.

Some authorities recommend sowing medium and other clovers without any
nurse crop. The advantages claimed are that more or less of a crop may
be obtained the same season, and that a stand of clover is more certain
when the seed is sown thus. The first claim is correct in the main. In
some localities favored with long seasons for growth, as in certain
areas of Missouri, for instance, good yields may be obtained from sowing
the seed thus. This has happened even in Minnesota. But in other areas
and under other conditions, the yield would be light. In some
localities, as, for instance, the Willamette Valley, Oregon,
satisfactory returns have been obtained by sowing clover seed and rape
seed in May and then pasturing both.

The chief objections to sowing clover seed thus are, first, that in a
great majority of instances a sufficient stand of the plants may be
obtained when the seed is sown with a nurse crop; and second, that when
it is not thus sown, the first cutting of the hay will contain more or
less of weeds. That a stand is more assured when clover seed is sown
alone in areas where adverse weather conditions prevail cannot be
disputed. Nevertheless, the fact remains that whenever in order to get a
stand of a short-lived crop, like clover, it is necessary to sow it
alone, and in many instances get but little return the same season, it
will be well to consider if there is not some more satisfactory way of
securing a crop that will prove an equivalent. In northerly areas the
stubbles of the nurse crop frequently render substantial service to the
clover by holding the snow on the crop, and also by protecting it more
or less from the effect of the cold winds. The old-time practice of
sowing clover with a nurse crop is likely to be continued,
notwithstanding that it has some disadvantages.

These disadvantages include the following: 1. The young plants are
liable to be weakened by the crowding and by overmuch shading from the
grain when it grows rankly and thickly, and to such an extent that they
perish; 2. When the grain lodges, as it frequently does, on rich
ground, the clover plants underneath the lodged portions succumb from
want of light; 3. Where the supply of moisture is low, in the struggle
for the same between the stronger plants of the nurse crop and the
weaker plants of the clover, the former secures the larger share. As a
result, when the nurse crop is harvested, should the weather prove hot
and dry beyond a certain degree, the clover plants will die. This is an
experience not at all uncommon on the loose prairie soils of the upper
Mississippi basin.

Injury from crowding and overshading may be prevented, or at least
lessened, by pasturing the nurse crop with sheep for a time, at an early
stage in its growth. The lodging of the grain may also be prevented by
the same means. Injury from drought may also be lessened by cutting the
crop at the proper stage of advancement, and making it into hay, as in
the ripening stage of growth it draws most heavily on the moisture in
the soil. The oat crop is the most suitable for being thus dealt with.

Clover seed may be sown with any of the small cereal grains as a nurse
crop, but not with equal advantage. Rye, barley, wheat and oats are
probably suitable in the order named. Rye shades less than wheat and
oats and is harvested early; hence, its suitability for a nurse crop.
Winter rye and winter wheat are more suitable than spring varieties of
the same, since, on these the crop may usually be sown earlier, and the
soil is likely to lose less moisture from surface evaporation. The
marked suitability of barley as a nurse crop arises chiefly from the
short period which it occupies the ground. Nor is the shade so dense as
from grains that grow taller. Oats are the least suitable of all the
crops named as a nurse crop, since they are characterized by a dense
growth of leaves, which shut out the sunlight too much when the growth
is rank. Notwithstanding, the oat crop may well serve such an end when
sown thinly and cut for hay. Mixed grains grown together, as, for
instance, wheat and oats, or a mixture of the three, answer quite as
well for a nurse crop as clover and oats. The objection to them for such
use arises from the fact that they are frequently sown more thickly than
grain sown alone.

Clover may also be sown with flax or millet or mixed grains grown to
provide soiling food. When the weather is moist, it is likely to succeed
well with flax, as the latter does not form so dense a shade when it is
growing as some other crops. But flax is usually sown so much later than
these crops, that in some climates the dry weather following injures and
in some instances destroys the young plants. The dense shade furnished
by millet is also detrimental to the clover plants; nevertheless, owing
to the short period which the former occupies the ground, under
favorable conditions a stand of clover may be secured. But since millet
is sown later than flax, it frequently happens that there is not
sufficient moisture in the soil to sustain both crops. Mixed grains sown
as soiling food are usually sown reasonably early, and as they are cut
before maturity, the danger is so far lessened that the young plants
will perish from want of moisture, but since these crops are usually
grown thickly and on rich land, owing to the dense character of the
growth, the plants are much more likely to be injured by the dense shade
thus provided.

Clover seed may also be sown with corn and certain other crops that are
usually grazed down, as rape and mixed grains. When sown with corn, the
seed is usually scattered over the ground just before the last
cultivation given to the corn. Attention is now being given to the
introduction of cultivators which scatter such seeds as clover and rape
in front of them, and so preclude the necessity for hand sowing. From
Central Ohio southward, this method of securing a stand of clover will
succeed in corn-growing areas, the other conditions being right. North
from the areas named, the young clover plants may be winter killed when
the seed is sown thus. The less dense the shade furnished by the corn,
and the less dry the weather subsequently to sowing the seed, the better
will be the stand of the plants secured.

When sown with rape that has been broadcast, clover usually makes a good
stand, providing the rape crop is not sown too late in the season. When
the rape is grazed down, the grazing does not appear to materially
injure the clover, and when the shade has been removed by such grazing,
the clover plants may be expected to make a vigorous growth on such
land. In northerly areas, clover seed may be sown along with rape seed
as late as the end of May. If sown later than that time, the season may
prove too short subsequently to the grazing of the rape to allow the
plants to gather sufficient strength to carry them safely through
northern winters. When clover seed is sown with rape, the seeds may be
mixed and sown together.

Clover seed in several of the varieties may be successfully sown on
certain grain crops grown to provide grazing, especially when these are
sown early. Such pastures may consist of any one of the small cereal
grains, or more than one, or of all of them.

The seed may be sown in these the same as with any crop sown to furnish
grain. A stand of clover may thus be secured under some conditions in
which the clover would perish if sown along with the grain to be
harvested; under other conditions it would not succeed so well. The
former include soils so open as to readily lose moisture by surface
evaporation. The tramping of the animals on these increases their power
to hold moisture, the grazing down of the grain lessens its demands upon
the same, thus leaving more for the clover plants, and they are further
strengthened by the freer access of sunlight. The latter include firm,
stiff clays in rainy climates. To pasture these when thus sown, if moist
beyond a certain degree, would result in so impacting them that the
yield of the pasture would be greatly decreased in consequence.

Medium red clover is quite frequently sown alone; that is, without
admixture with clovers or grasses. It is always sown thus when it is to
be plowed under, as green manure. It is also usually sown alone in
rotations where it is to be cropped or grazed for one year. But when
grown for meadow, which is to remain longer than one season, it is
commonly sown along with timothy. The first year after sowing, the crop
is chiefly clover, and subsequently it is chiefly timothy. Orchard grass
or tall oat grass, or both, may also be sown along with medium red
clover, since these are ready for being cut at the same time as the
clover.

When medium red clover is sown to provide pasture for periods of limited
duration, it is frequently sown along with alsike clover and timothy.
Sometimes a moderate amount of alfalfa seed is added. But in arable
soils in the semi-arid West, these will provide pastures for many years
in succession, if supplied with moisture. The same is true of much of
the land west of the Cascades, and without irrigation. East from the
Mississippi and for some distance west from it, much of the medium red
clover will disappear after being grazed for one season, but the alsike,
timothy and alfalfa will endure for a longer period.

In permanent pastures, whether few or many varieties of seed are sown,
medium red clover is usually included in the mixture. It is sown because
of the amount of the grazing which it furnishes the season after sowing,
and with the expectation that it will virtually entirely disappear in
the pastures in two or three seasons after it has been sown.

When medium red clover is sown for being plowed under as green manure,
it is always sown with a nurse crop. Some farmers, in localities well
adapted to the growth of clover, sow more or less of the medium red
variety on all, or nearly all, of the land devoted to the growth of such
cereals as rye, wheat, barley and oats, when the land is to be plowed
the autumn or spring following. Reduced quantities of seed are used.
They believe that the benefit from the young clover plants to the land
will more than pay for the cost of the seed and the sowing of the same.

The amount of seed to sow will depend on the degree of suitability in
the conditions for growing medium red clover. The more favorable these
are, the less the necessity for using maximum quantities of seed, and
_vice versa_. More seed is required when the clover is not grown with
other grasses or clovers than when it is grown with these. When grown
without admixture, 16 pounds of seed per acre may be named as the
maximum quantity to sow and 8 pounds as the minimum, with 12 pounds as
an average. With all the conditions quite favorable, 10 pounds should
suffice. In New England and some of the Atlantic States, many growers
sow much more seed than the quantities named, and it may be that the
necessities of the land call for more. In Great Britain also,
considerably larger quantities are sown.

When sown in grass or clover mixtures, the amount of the seed required
will vary with the other factors of the mixture, and the amount of each
that is sown; that is, with the character of the hay or pasture that is
sought. The seed is much more frequently sown with timothy than with any
other kind of grass, and the average amount of each of these to sow per
acre may be put at 8 pounds of clover and 6 pounds of timothy. When
other clovers are added, as the mammoth or the alsike, for every pound
of the seed of the former added, the seed of the medium red may be
reduced by one pound, and for every pound of the alsike added it may be
reduced by 1-1/2 pounds. In mixtures for permanent pastures, 6 pounds
may be fixed upon as the maximum quantity of medium red clover seed to
sow, and 3 pounds as the average quantity. When sown to provide green
manure, maximum quantities of seed are used when it is desired to
improve the soil quickly. Usually not less than 12 pounds per acre are
sown, and quite frequently more. But when the gradual improvement of the
land is sought, by sowing the seed on all land devoted to the small
cereal grains, not more than 6 pounds per acre are used, and frequently
even less than 4 pounds. The greater the hazard to the plants in sowing
the seed thus, the less the quantities of the seed that are usually
sown, with a view to reduce the loss in case of failure to secure a
stand of the clover.

A stand of medium red clover is sometimes secured by what may be termed
self-sowing. For instance, where clover has been cut for hay and then
allowed to mature even but a portion of the seed before being plowed
under the same autumn, the seed thus buried remains in the ground
without sprouting. When the land is again plowed to the same depth and
sown with some kind of grain, the clover seed thus brought to the
surface will germinate. If the plowing last referred to is done in the
autumn, it ought to be done late rather than early, lest the seed
should sprout in the autumn and perish in the winter, or be destroyed by
the cultivation given in sowing the grain crop that follows. The same
result may be obtained from clover pastured after the first cutting for
the season, when the pasturing is not close.

When medium red clover is much grown for seed, many of the ripe heads
are not cut by the mower, since they lie near the ground, and many break
off in the curing process. The seed thus becomes so distributed in the
ground, that many plants come up and grow amid the grain every season.
These may, of course, be grazed or plowed under for the enrichment of
the land, as desired. Seed thus buried is, therefore, not lost by any
means. The plants which grow will render much assistance in keeping the
land in a good condition of tilth, as well as in enhancing its
fertility.

When clover seed is much grown, therefore, on any piece of land, the
quantity of seed sown may be reduced materially. In fact, it may be so
much reduced that it has been found possible to grow clover in rotation
for many years without adding seed. The first growth of the clover was
taken as hay, and the second growth as seed. The ground was then plowed
and a crop of corn was taken. The corn land was then plowed and sown
with some cereal, such as wheat, oats or barley.

=Pasturing.=--Medium red clover will furnish grazing very suitable for
any kind of live stock kept upon the farm. All farm animals relish it,
but not so highly as blue grass, when the latter is tender and
succulent. No plant is equally suitable in providing pasture for swine,
unless it be alfalfa; hence, for that class of stock, it has come to be
the staple pasture outside of areas where alfalfa may be readily grown.
When desired, the grazing may begin even at a reasonably early stage in
the growth of the plants, and it may continue to the end of the
pasturing season.

Usually it is considered unwise to pasture medium red clover the same
season in which it has been sown when sown with a nurse crop. It has
been noticed that when so pastured, it does not winter so well, and that
the later and more close the pasturing and the colder the winter
following, the greater is the hazard from pasturing the clover. This
hazard arises chiefly from the exposure of the roots to the sweep of the
cold winds. It should be the rule, therefore, not only to refrain from
pasturing clover thus, but also to leave the stubbles high when
pasturing the grain. Where the snowfall is light and the cold is
intense, to leave the stubbles thus high is important, since they aid in
holding the snow. But there may be instances when the clover plants grow
so vigorously that in places of heavy snowfall, smothering may result
unless the mass of vegetation is in some way removed. In such instances,
pasturing may be in order; but when practised, the grazing should be
with cattle rather than sheep or horses, and it should cease before the
covering is removed. There may also be locations where much benefit
follows in several ways close, or reasonably close, cutting of the
stubbles quite soon after the nurse crop has been harvested.

When clover is sown without a nurse crop, it may be not only proper, but
advantageous, to pasture it. The grazing should not, however, be
continued so late that the plants will not have time to make a
sufficiency of growth to protect them in winter. Such grazing is better
adapted to areas in which the season of growth is long, rather than
short; where weed growth is abundant, as on certain of the soils of the
prairie, it may be necessary to call in the aid of the mower once or
even twice during the season of growth.

When a crop of medium red clover is desired, the surest way to obtain it
in good form is to pasture the field during the early part of the
season, and closely enough to have the clover eaten down on every part
of the field. When it is not so eaten, the mower should be so used that
the growth and maturing of the seed crop may be even and uniform. The
season for removing the live stock will depend upon latitude and
altitude, but it will be correct to say that it ought to be from two to
three weeks earlier than the proper season for cutting clover for hay.

When clover is not grazed the year that it is sown, in some seasons the
stronger plants will bear seed, if allowed. To such an extent does this
follow under certain conditions and in certain areas, that a
considerable crop of seed could be obtained if this were desired, even
as many as 4 or 5 bushels per acre in some instances. But it has been
noticed that if thus allowed to produce seed, the effect upon the
growth of the crop the next season is decidedly injurious. To prevent
such a result the mower should be run over the field as soon as much
hazard is certainly apparent, and the earlier in the season that this
can be done the better, for the reason that all weeds growing are
clipped off, and the clover has also a better chance to provide
protection for the winter by growth subsequently made. When there is an
over-luxuriant growth in the plants, it may be well to thus mow the
field, even though seed should not be produced. The growth made by the
plants and the mulch provided by the portion cut make an excellent
preparation for entering the cold season.

But few pasture crops grown will furnish as much grazing in one season
as medium red clover. It will probably furnish the most grazing if
allowed to grow up before it is grazed until the stage of bloom is
approached or reached, but since it is seldom practicable to graze it
down quickly enough after that stage has been reached, and since there
is frequently waste from tramping, grazing usually begins, and properly
so, at an earlier period.

When cattle and sheep graze upon young clover, there is some danger that
hoven or bloating may result to the extent of proving quickly fatal if
not promptly relieved. The danger is greater if the animals are hungry
when turned in upon the clover, and when it is wet with dew or rain, or
in a more than ordinarily succulent condition. Such danger may be
lessened, if not, indeed, entirely eliminated, by giving the animals
access to other food, as dry clover hay, for instance, before turning
them in on the pasture, and the danger is always less in proportion as
grasses are abundant in the pasture.

Should bloating occur, relief must usually be prompt to be effective. In
mild cases, certain medicines may bring relief. One of the most potent
is the following: Give spirits of turpentine in doses of 1 to 5
tablespoonfuls, according to the size of the animal. Dilute with milk
before administering. In bad cases, the paunch should be at once
punctured. The best instruments are the trocar and canula, but in the
absence of these a pocket knife and goose quill may be made to answer.
The puncture is made on the left side, at a point midway between the
last rib and hook point, and but a few inches from the backbone. The
thrusting instrument should point downward and slightly inward going
into the paunch. With much promptness the canula or the quill should be
pushed down into the paunch and held there till the gas escapes. Before
the tube is withdrawn the contents of the paunch that have risen in the
same should be first pushed down.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Medium red clover is at its best for cutting for
hay when in full bloom, and when a few of the heads which first bloomed
are beginning to turn brown; that is to say, in the later rather than in
the earlier stage of full bloom. If cut sooner, the curing of the crop
is tedious. If cut later the stalks lose in palatability. But when the
weather is showery it may be better to defer cutting even for several
days after the clover has reached the proper stage for harvesting, as
the injury from rain while the crop is being cured may be greater than
the injury from overmaturity in the same before it is mown.

When curing the crop, the aim should be to preserve to the greatest
extent practicable the loss of the leaves. To accomplish such a result,
the clover ought to be protected as far as possible from exposure to dew
or rain, and also from excessive exposure to sunshine. Dew injures more
or less the color of the hay and detracts from its palatability. Rain
intensifies such injury in proportion as the crop being harvested is
exposed to it. It also washes out certain substances, which, when
present, affect favorably its aroma.

The injury from such exposure increases with the interval between
cutting and storing the crop. Exposure to successive showers may so
seriously injure the hay as to render it almost valueless for feeding.
After the mown clover has been exposed in the swath to the sunlight
beyond a certain time, it turns brown, and if exposed thus long enough
the aroma will be lost. The aim should be, therefore, to cure the clover
to the greatest extent practicable by the aid of the wind rather than by
that of the sun.

The method of procedure to be followed is in outline as given below: Mow
as far as possible when the meadow is not wet with rain or dew. Mow in
the afternoon rather than the forenoon, as the injury from dew the night
following will be less. Stir with the tedder as soon as the clover has
wilted somewhat. The tedder should be used once, twice or oftener as
the circumstances may require. The heavier the crop and the less drying
the weather, the more the tedding that should be given. Sometimes
tedding once, and in nearly all instances twice, will be sufficient. The
hay should then be raked. It is ready for being raked as soon as the
work can be done easily and in an efficient manner. When clover is not
dry enough for being raked, the draught on the rake will be
unnecessarily heavy, the dumping of the hay will be laborious, and it
does not rake as clean as it would if the hay were in a fit condition
for being raked.

The aim should be to have the crop put up in heaps, usually called
"cocks," but sometimes called "coils," before the second night arrives
after the mowing of the clover; and in order to accomplish this, it may
be necessary to work on until the shades of evening are drawing near.

When there is a reasonable certainty that the weather shall continue
dry, it is quite practicable to cure clover in the winrow, but in
showery weather to attempt to do so would mean ruin to the clover. In no
form does it take injury so quickly from rain as in the winrow, and when
rain saturates it, much labor is involved in spreading it out again. Nor
is it possible to make hay quite so good in quantity when clover is
cured in the winrow, as the surface exposed to the sunshine is much
greater than when it is mixed with timothy or some other grass that
purpose, nevertheless, to cure it thus, especially when it is mixed with
timothy or some other grass that cures more easily and readily than
clover. It may also be taken up with the hay-loader when cured thus,
which very much facilitates easy storing. But when it is to be lifted
with the hay-loader, the winrows should be made small rather than large.

When the clover is to be put up into cocks, these should be small rather
than large, if quick curing is desired. In making these, skilled labor
counts for much. The cocks are simply little miniature stacks. The part
next to the ground has less diameter than the center of the cock. As
each forkful is put on after the first, the fork is turned over so that
the hay spreads out over the surface of the heap as it is being
deposited. Smaller forkfuls are put on as the top is being reached. The
center is kept highest when making the cock. Each one may be made to
contain about 100 pounds and upward of cured hay, but in some instances
they should not contain more than half the amount to facilitate drying.
When the heap has become large enough, the inverted fork should be made
to draw down on every side the loose portions, which in turn are put
upon the top of the cock. Such trimming is an important aid to the
shedding of rain. An expert hand will put up one of these cocks of hay
in less time than it takes to read about how it is done.

A light rain will not very much injure a crop of clover after it has
been put up into cocks, but a soaking rain will probably penetrate them
to the bottom. To guard against this, in localities where the rainfall
may be considerable in harvest time, hay caps are frequently used. These
may be made from a good quality of unbleached muslin or strong cotton,
or they may be obtained from some of those who deal in tent awnings and
stack covers. When of good quality and well cared for they should last
for 10 to 20 years. Care should be taken in putting them on lest the
wind which frequently precedes a thunder storm should blow them away.
The pins used at the corners of the caps should be carefully and firmly
inserted in the hay or the ground, or the caps should have sufficiently
heavy weights attached to them at the corners to prevent their lifting
with the wind. In putting up the hay the size of the cocks should be
adjusted to the size of the covers used. One person should apply the
covers as quickly as two will put up the hay.

When clover hay is put up into cocks, it undergoes what is termed the
"heating" process; that is, it becomes warm in the center of the heaps
up to a certain point, after which the heat gradually leaves it. The
heat thus generated is proportionate to the size of the cocks and the
amount of moisture in the clover. The sweating process usually covers
two or three days, after which the hay is ready for being stored. When
clover is cured in the winrow, it does not go through the sweating
process to the same extent as when cured in the cock; hence, it is
liable to sweat in the mow, and to such an extent as to induce mold, if
it has been stored away with moisture in it beyond a certain degree. If
a wisp of clover is taken from the least cured portion of the winrow or
cock, and twisted between the hands, it is considered ready for being
stored if no liquid is discernible. If overcured, when thus twisted it
will break asunder. A skilled workman can also judge fairly well of the
degree of the curing by the weight when lifted with the fork.

Under some conditions, it may be advisable to "open out" the cocks two
or three hours before drawing them, that the hot sunshine may remove
undue moisture. When this is done, if the cocks are taken down in
distinct forkfuls, as it were, each being given a place distinct from
the others, the lifting of these will be much easier than if the clover
in each cock had been strewn carelessly over the ground. The lowest
forkful in the cock should be turned over, since the hay in it will have
imbibed more or less of dampness from the ground. But in some instances
the weather for harvesting is so favorable that the precaution is
unnecessary of thus opening out the cocks or even of making them at all.

=Storing.=--Storing clover under cover is far preferable to putting it
up in stacks, except in rainless climates. With the aid of the
hay-loader in lifting it from winrows in the field, and of the hay fork
in unloading, the hand labor in storing is greatly reduced, but when it
is unloaded with the horse fork, the aim should be to dump the hay from
the fork on different parts of the mow or stack, lest it should become
too solidly pressed together under the dump, and heat and mold in
consequence.

When the hay is stacked, especially in climates of considerable
rainfall, a bottom should be prepared on which to stack it. This may be
made of poles or rails. A few of these should first be laid one way on
the ground and parallel, and others across them. Where such material
cannot be had, old straw or hay of but little value should be spread
over the stack bottom to a considerable depth. Where these precautions
are not taken, the hay in the bottom of the stack will be spoiled for
some distance upward by moisture ascending from the ground. In building
the stack, the center should be kept considerably higher than the outer
edges, that rain may be shed, and the width of the same should increase
up to at least two-thirds of the height, the better to protect the hay
underneath. The tramping should be even, or the hay in settling will
draw to one side, and the topping out should be gradual rather than
abrupt.

In topping out a clover stack some hay should be used not easily
penetrated by rain, as, for instance, blue grass obtained from fence
corners, or slough hay obtained from marshes. The last-named is better
put on green. If the clover is not thus protected, a considerable
quantity will spoil on the top of the stacks. It is not a good hay to
turn rain. The shape of the stack should in a considerable degree be
determined by its size. It is probably preferable to make small stacks
round, since they are more easily kept in shape, but large stacks should
be long rather than round, as large, round stacks call for undue height
in bringing them to a top. Because of the ease with which rain
penetrates clover, it is very desirable to have it put under a roof.
Where it cannot be protected by the roof of a barn or stable, the aim
should be to store it in a hay shed; that is to say, a frame structure,
open on all sides and covered with a roof. Such sheds may be
constructed in a timber country without great cost.

Should the clover hay be stored a little undercured, some growers favor
sowing salt, say, from 4 to 8 quarts over each load when spread over the
mow. They do so under the conviction that its preservative qualities
will be to some extent efficacious in preventing the hay from molding,
and that it adds to the palatability of the hay. While it may render
some service in both of these respects, it would seem probable that the
benefits claimed have been overrated.

The more frequently clover hay is handled, the more is its feeding value
impaired, because of the loss of heads and leaves which attend each
handling of the crop. Because of this, it is not so good a crop for
baling as timothy, and also for other reasons. It should be the aim when
storing it for home feeding to place it where it can be fed as far as
possible directly from the place of storage. In the location of hay
sheds, therefore, due attention should be given to this matter.

In climates that are moist, some growers store clover in a mow when it
has only reached the wilting stage in the curing process. When thus
stored it is preserved on the principle which preserves silage. The aim
is when storing to exclude the air as far as possible by impacting the
mass of green clover through its own weight, aided by tramping. It
should be more or less wilted before being stored, according to the
succulence in it, and it is considered highly important that it shall
also be free from external moisture. When thus stored it should be in
large mows, and it should be well tramped, otherwise the impaction may
not be sufficient. To this method of storage there are the following
objections: 1. The hay has to be handled while it is yet green and wet.
2. There is hazard that much of the hay will be spoiled in unskilled
hands. 3. Under the most favorable conditions more or less of the clover
is pretty certain to mold near the edges of the mass. Where clover can
be made into hay in the ordinary way without incurring much hazard of
spoiling, the practice of storing it away in the green form, except in a
silo, would seem of questionable propriety. The making of clover into
ensilage is discussed in the book "Soiling Crops and the Silo" by the
author.

=Securing Seed.=--As a rule, seed is not produced from the first cutting
for the season of medium red clover. It is claimed that this is due to
lack of pollenization in the blossoms, and because they are in advance
of the active period of working in bumble bees, the medium through which
fertilization is chiefly effected. This would seem to be a sufficient
explanation as to why medium red clover plants will frequently bear seed
the first year, if allowed to, though the first cutting from older
plants will have little or no seed. But it is claimed that the ordinary
honey bee may be and is the medium for fertilizing alsike and small
white clover, but not that through which the mammoth variety is
fertilized.

Experience has shown, further, that, as a rule, better crops of clover
seed may be obtained from clover that has been pastured off than from
that which has been mown for hay, although to this rule there are some
exceptions. This arises, in part, from the fact that the energies of the
plant have been less drawn upon in producing growth, and, therefore, can
produce superior seed heads and seed, and in part from the further fact
that there is usually more moisture in the soil at the season when the
plants which have been pastured off are growing. There would seem to be
some relation between the growing of good crops of clover seed and
pasturing the same with sheep. It has been claimed that so great is the
increase of seed in some instances from pasturing with sheep till about
June 1st, say, in the latitude of Ohio, that the farmer who has no sheep
could afford to give the grazing to one who has, because of the extra
return in seed resulting. The best crops of seed are obtained when the
growth is what may be termed medium or normal. Summers, therefore, that
are unusually wet or dry are not favorable to the production of clover
seed.

If weeds are growing amid the clover plants that are likely to mature
seed, they should, where practicable, be removed. The Canada thistle,
ragweed, plantain and burdock are among the weeds that may thus ripen
seeds in medium clover. When not too numerous they can be cut with the
spud. When too numerous to be thus cut, where practicable, they should
be kept from seeding with the aid of the scythe. To prevent them from
maturing is important, as the seeds of certain weeds cannot be
separated from those of clover with the fanning mill, they are so alike
in size.

The crop is ready for being cut when the heads have all turned brown,
except a few of the smaller and later ones. It may be cut by the mower
as ordinarily used, by the mower, with a board or zinc platform
attachment to the cutter bar, by the self-rake reaper, or by the grain
binder. The objection to the first method is that the seed has to be
raked and that the raking results in the loss of much seed; to the
second, that it calls for an additional man to rake off the clover; and
to the third, that the binder is heavier than the self-rake reaper. The
latter lays the clover off in loose sheaves. These may be made large or
small, as desired, and if care is taken to lay them off in rows, the
lifting of the crop is rendered much easier.

When the clover is cut with the mower, it should be raked into winrows
while it is a little damp, as, for instance, in the evening. If raked in
the heat of the day many of the heads will break off and will thus be
lost. From the winrows it is lifted with large forks. When the crop is
laid off in sheaves it may be necessary to turn them once, even in the
absence of rain, but frequently this is not necessary. In the turning
process gentle handling is important, lest much of the seed should be
lost. The seed heads of a mature crop break off very easily in the hours
of bright sunshine. Rather than turn the sheaves over, it may be better,
in many instances, just to lift them with a fork with many tines, and
set them down easily again on ground which is not damp under them, like
unto that from which they have been removed.

Clover seed may be stored in the barn or stack, or it may be threshed
directly in the field or from the same. The labor involved in handling
the crop is less when it is threshed at once than by any other method,
but frequently at such a busy season it is not easily possible to secure
the labor required for this work. It is usually ready for being threshed
in two or three days after the crop has been cut, but when the weather
is fair it may remain in the field for as many weeks after being
harvested without any serious damage to the seed. If, however, the
straw, or "haulm," as it is more commonly called, is to be fed to live
stock, the more quickly that the threshing is done after harvesting, the
more valuable will the haulm be for such a use.

When stored in the barn or stack, it is common to defer threshing until
the advent of frosty weather, for the reason, first, that the seed is
then more easily separated from the chaff which encases it; and second,
that farm work is not then so pressing. When threshed in or directly
from the field, bright weather ought to be chosen for doing the work,
otherwise more or less of the seed will remain in the chaff.

In lifting the crop for threshing or for storage, much care should be
exercised, as the heads break off easily. The fork used in lifting it,
whether with iron or with wooden prongs, should have these long and so
numerous that in lifting the tines would go under rather than down
through the bunch to be lifted. The wagon rack should also be covered
with canvas, if all the seed is to be saved. If stored in stacks much
care should be used in making these, as the seed crop in the stack is
even more easily injured by rain than the hay crop. The covering of old
hay of some kind that will shed rain easily should be most carefully put
on.

Years ago the idea prevailed that clover seed could not be successfully
threshed until the straw had, in a sense, rotted in the field by lying
exposed in the same for several weeks. The introduction of improved
machinery has dispelled this idea. The seed is more commonly threshed by
a machine made purposely for threshing clover called a "clover huller."
The cylinder teeth used in it are much closer than in the ordinary grain
separator. The sieves are also different, and the work is less rapidly
done than if done by the former. During recent years, however, the seed
is successfully threshed with an ordinary grain threshing machine, and
the work of threshing is thus more expeditiously done. Certain
attachments are necessary, but it is claimed that not more than an hour
is necessary to put these in place, or to prepare the machine again for
threshing grain.

Since the seed is not deemed sufficiently clean for market as it comes
from the machine, it should be carefully winnowed by running it through
a fanning mill with the requisite equipment of sieves. It is important
that this work should be carefully done if the seed is to grade as No. 1
in the market. If it does not, the price will be discounted in
proportion as it falls below the standard. A certain proportion of the
seed thus separated will be small and light. This, if sold at all, must
be sold at a discount. If mixed with weed seeds it should be ground and
fed to some kind of stock.

The haulm, when the seed crop has been well saved, has some feeding
value, especially for cattle. If not well saved it is only fit for
litter, but even when thus used its fertilizing value is about
two-thirds that of clover hay. More or less seed remains in the chaff,
and because of this the latter is sometimes drawn and strewn over
pastures, or in certain by places where clover plants are wanted. Seed
sown in the chaff has much power to grow, owing, it is thought, to the
ability of the hull enclosing the seed to hold moisture. The yields in
the seed crops of medium red clover vary all the way from 1 to 8 bushels
per acre. The average yields under certain conditions are from 3 to 4
bushels per acre. Under conditions less favorable, from 2 to 3 bushels.

Within the past two decades the seed crop has been seriously injured by
an insect commonly spoken of as the clover midge (_Cecidomyia
leguminicola_) which preys upon the heads so that they fail to produce.
A field thus affected will not come properly into bloom. The remedy
consists in so grazing or cutting the clover that the bloom will come at
that season of the summer when the insects do not work upon the heads.
This season can only be determined by actual test. In Northern areas it
can usually be accomplished by pushing the period of bloom usual for the
second crop two to four weeks forward.

=Renewing.=--When clover is grown for hay, it is not usual to try to
renew the crop, because of the short-lived period of the plant. But in
some instances it has been found advantageous. On light prairie soils
sandy in texture, located in the upper Mississippi basin, it has been
found possible to grow timothy meadow for several years in succession
with a goodly sprinkling of clover in it without re-seeding. In such
instances, the land is not pastured at all, except in seasons quite
favorable to growth, and in these the pasturing is not close. The clover
plants that grow after the crop has been cut for hay produce seed. The
heads in due time break off and are scattered more or less over the soil
by the winds. In time they disintegrate, and more or less of the seed
germinates, thus forming new plants, some of which, especially in
favorable seasons, retain their hold upon the soil. This method may be
worthy of imitation in localities where it has been found difficult to
get a stand in dry seasons on this class of soils.

When the stand of clover secured is variable, that is to say, partial,
as when the clover is abundant in the lower portions of the land and
entirely absent on the higher ground, it may be worth while to re-sow
the seed on the latter early the following spring. But before doing so,
the land should be carefully disked in the fall, and the clover seed
harrowed or otherwise covered in the spring. Should the summer following
prove favorable, the seed thus sown may produce hay, but not likely in
time to be harvested with the other portions of the field. But though it
should not produce much hay the seed is likely to be benefited to an
extent that will far more than repay the outlay involved in labor and
seed.

If the clover has been sown for pasture, the renewal of the same on
higher ground may be made as stated above, but with the difference that
the same kind or kinds of grain may also be sown at the same time as the
clover is becoming rooted.

In pastures, medium red clover may be renewed whenever the attempt is
made to renew the pastures, as by disking them and then sowing upon them
the seeds of certain grasses or clovers or both. The disking is usually
done in the spring and while the frost is out for only a short distance
below the surface. The amount of seed to sow need not be large, usually
not more than 2 or 3 pounds per acre, especially when seed of other
varieties is sown at the same time. One stroke of the harrow following
will provide a sufficient covering for the seed.

=Clover as a Fertilizer.=--It would probably be correct to say that no
plant has yet been introduced into American agriculture that has been
found so generally useful as clover in fertilizing land and in improving
the mechanical condition. Some who have investigated claim that there is
more nitrogen in a clover sod after the removal of a good crop of clover
than will suffice for four average farm crops, more phosphoric acid than
will suffice for two, and more potash than will suffice for six. It
begins to draw nitrogen from the air as soon as the tubercles commence
to form and continues to add thus to the enrichment of the land during
all the succeeding period of active growth. As previously stated, the
nitrogen is drawn in great part from the air; consequently, soil from
which a bountiful crop of clover has been removed will be considerably
richer in nitrogen than before it grew the same, and this will hold true
as intimated above, even though the crop should be removed and sold.
Under the same conditions it will also be true in available phosphoric
acid and potash. But the latter are gathered from the soil and subsoil
while the plants were growing. Consequently, if crops of clover are
grown in short rotation periods and if no fertilizer is given to the
land other than the clover brings to it, while it will be abundantly
supplied with nitrogen, a time will come when the supply of phosphoric
acid and potash may be so reduced that the soil will not grow even good
crops of clover. When this point is reached the soil is spoken of as
"clover sick." Happily, however, nearly all soils are so well stored
with phosphoric acid and potash that this result is not likely to follow
for many years. But lest it should, attention should be given to
fertilizing the land occasionally with farmyard manure, or with
phosphoric acid and potash applied as commercial fertilizers. Because of
this, and also for other reasons, it is usually considered more
profitable in the end to feed clover on the farm and return it to the
land in the form of manure. But clover may cease to grow on land where
once it grew well, because of other reasons, such as changes in the
mechanical condition of the soil caused by the depletion of its humus
and changes in its chemical condition, such as increased acidity. The
remedy is the removal of the cause.

The roots also put large quantities of humus in the soil. Where crops
are regularly grown in short rotations they will suffice to keep it
amply supplied for ordinary production. Because of this it is usually
considered more profitable to cut both the crops which medium red clover
produces in one season, or to pasture off one or both, than to plow
under either as green manure. But when soils are too stiff or too open
in character it may be advantageous to bury clover to restore the
equilibrium. It may also be necessary to bury an occasional crop in
order to put the land quickly in a condition to produce some desired
crop, the growth of which calls for large supplies of humus. When clover
is plowed under it will usually be found more profitable to bury the
second growth of the season than the first. The crop is in the best
condition for being plowed under when the plants are coming into bloom.
If left until the stems lose their succulence the slow decay following
in conjunction with the bulkiness of the mass plowed under might prove
harmful to the crop following the clover. The influence of the roots
upon the mechanical condition of the soil is most beneficial. The roots
go down deep into the subsoil and also abound in fibrous growth. The tap
roots in their decay furnish openings through which the superfluous
water may go down into the subsoil. The fibers adhering to the main
roots so ramify through the soil that when even stiff land is filled
with them it is rendered friable, and is consequently brought into a
good mechanical condition.

While all varieties of clover may be utilized in producing food and in
enriching land, none is equal to the medium red for the two purposes
combined. This arises from the fact that none save the medium red grows
two crops in one season under ordinary conditions. Though the first crop
should be taken for food, as it generally is, there is still ample time
for a second crop to grow for plowing under the same season. This second
growth is ready for being plowed under when time is less valuable than
it would be when the mammoth or alsike varieties would be in season for
being thus covered. And yet the work may be done sufficiently early to
admit of sowing fall or winter crops on the land which produced the
clover.



CHAPTER IV

ALFALFA


Alfalfa (_Medicago sativa_) previous to its introduction into
California, from Chili, about the middle of the last century, was
usually known by the French name Lucerne. The name Alfalfa is probably
Arabic in its origin, and the term Lucerne has probably been given to it
from the Canton Lucerne in Switzerland. It has followed the plant into
Spain and South America, and now it seems probable that soon it will be
known by no other name over all the United States and Canada. It has
also been known by names applied to it from various countries for which
it has shown high adaptation, as, for instance, Sicilian Clover, Mexican
Clover, Chilian Clover, Brazilian Clover, Styrian Clover and Burgundy
Clover. In yet other instances, names have been applied to it indicative
of some peculiarity of growth, as, for instance, Branching Clover,
Perennial Clover, Stem Clover and Monthly Clover.

Alfalfa is upright and branching in its habit of growth, more so than
the common varieties of clover. It usually grows to the height of 2 to 3
feet, but it has been known to reach a much greater height. Although
possessed of a single stem when the plants are young, the number of the
stems increases up to a certain limit, with the age of the plants and
the number of the cuttings. Forty to fifty stalks frequently grow up
from the crown of a single plant where the conditions are quite
favorable to growth, and in some instances as many as a hundred. The
leaves are not large, but numerous, and in the curing of the plants they
drop off much more easily than those of the more valuable of the
clovers. The flowers are borne toward the top of the stems and branches,
and they are in a long cluster, rather than in a compact head. They are
usually of a bluish tint, but the shades of the color vary with the
strain from blue to pink and yellow. The seeds are borne in spirally
coiled pods. They resemble those of red clover in size, but are less
uniform in shape. The color should be a light olive green. The tap roots
go down deeply into the soil and subsoil where the conditions as to
texture and moisture are favorable. It has been claimed that alfalfa
roots have gone down into congenial subsoils 40 to 50 feet, but usually
less, probably, than one-fourth of the distances mentioned would measure
the depths to which the roots go. And with decreasing porosity in the
subsoil, there will be decrease in root penetration until it will reach
in some instances not more than 3 to 4 feet. But where the roots are
thus hindered from going deeper, they branch out more in their search
for food.

[Illustration: Fig. 3. Alfalfa (_Medicago sativa_)
  Oregon Experiment Station]

Alfalfa is perennial. In the duration of its growth, no fodder plant
grown under domestication will equal it. It has been known, it is
claimed, to produce profitable crops for half a century. In some of the
Western States are meadows from 25 to 40 years old. Ordinarily,
however, the season of profitable growth is not more than, say, 6 to 12
years when grown on upland soils. The meadows usually become more or
less weedy or possessed by various grasses, and some of the plants die.
The plants at first send up a single stem. When this matures or is cut
back the uncut portion of the stem dies down to the crown of the plant,
which then sends out other stems. This is repeated as often as the stems
are cut down until many stems grow up from one plant as indicated above,
unless the plants are so crowded that such multiplication is more or
less hindered. The plants grow rapidly as soon as spring arrives, and as
often as cut off they at once spring again into vigorous life, where the
conditions are favorable to such growth; hence, from one to twelve
cuttings of soiling may be obtained in a single season, the former
result being obtained in arid climates, where the conditions are
unpropitious, and the latter being possible only in congenial soils,
where the winters are very mild and where the soils are irrigated.
Usually, however, even on upland soils and in the absence of irrigation,
not fewer than 3 to 5 cuttings of soiling food are obtained each year
and not fewer than 2 to 4 crops of hay.

A number of varieties so called are grown in this country. They differ
from each other more, however, in their adaptation in essential
properties relating to the quality of the pasture and fodder produced,
than in the quality of food product obtained from them. The variety
commonly grown from seed produced in the West is usually spoken of
simply as alfalfa, while that grown from seed European in origin has
been more commonly called Lucerne. The former of these has a tendency to
grow taller than the latter and to send its roots down to a greater
depth. In addition to these, such strains as the Turkestan, the Rhenish,
the Minnesota and Sand Lucerne have been introduced.

The Turkestan variety was introduced by the United States Department of
Agriculture during recent years. It was brought from provinces beyond
the Caspian in Russia, Asia. The object sought was to introduce a
variety that would better withstand the rigors of a climate dry in
summer and cold in winter than the variety commonly grown. Some strains
of this variety have proved drought resistant to a remarkable degree. It
has also shown itself capable of enduring without injury temperatures so
low as to result in the destruction of plants of the common variety. In
trials made by growers in North Dakota and Northern Minnesota, it has
been found able to endure the winter's cold in these areas. But it has
also been found that while the plants produced some seed in the Central
Mountain States, they did not produce much seed when grown in the
Northern States. Unless seed can be secured from plants grown in the
latter in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of growers, it is
feared that in time some of the hardy characteristics of this variety
will be lost if the Central and Southern Mountain States must be relied
upon as the American sources of seed supplies.

The Rhenish strain comes from Central Europe. It has been highly
commended by some European seedsmen for its hardihood, but it has been
as yet grown to only a limited extent in America. The Minnesota strain
was doubtless brought to Carver County by German farmers, by whom it has
been grown in the neighborhood of Lake Waconia for nearly 20 years. It
has been found much hardier than the common variety when grown in that
neighborhood, and the endurance of plants grown from seed of this strain
far northward has been very pronounced. As this variety produces
reasonably good seed crops in Central Minnesota, it would seem
reasonable to expect that it will become popular in Northern areas. Sand
Lucerne, which comes from Central Europe, has considerable adaptation
for poor and light soils, and in trials made at the Michigan experiment
station was found possessed of distinctive merit for such soils.

Where alfalfa can be grown freely, it is unexcelled as a pasture for
swine, and is in favor also as a pasture for horses. While cattle and
sheep grazed upon it are exceedingly fond of it, the danger that it will
produce bloat in them is so frequently present as to greatly neutralize
its value for such a use. It is a favorite pasture for fowls. In
furnishing soiling food where it produces freely, it is without an equal
in all the United States. It is highly relished by all kinds of farm
animals, not excluding rabbits and goats, and when fed judiciously may
be fed in this form with perfect safety. Its high value in producing
such food rests on its productiveness, its high palatability and the
abundant nutrition which it contains. As a hay crop, it is greatly
prized. Even swine may be wintered in a large measure on cured alfalfa
hay.

As a fertilizer, the value of alfalfa will be largely dependent on the
use that is made of the plants. When pastured or fed upon the farm, the
fertility resulting being put back upon the land, it ranks highly as a
producer of fertility. But this question is further discussed on page
191. As a destroyer of weeds much will depend upon the way in which it
is grown. This question also is discussed again. (See page 185.)

=Distribution.=--It is thought that alfalfa is more widely distributed
over the earth's surface, furnishes more food for live stock, and has
been widely cultivated for a longer period than any other legume. It is
grown over wide areas of Asia, Europe, North and South America, and its
cultivation is constantly extending. It was grown on the irrigated
plains of Babylon long before the days of Nebuchadnezzar. It was the
principal fodder used in the stables of the kings of Persia. From
Persia, it is thought, it was brought to Greece about 470 B. C., and
that its cultivation in Italy began at least two centuries before the
Christian era. Several Roman writers, as Virgil, Columella and Varro,
mention it. From Italy it was introduced into Spain and from Spain it
was doubtless carried by missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church to
Mexico and the South American States which lie west of the Andes, as
Peru and Chili. In the arid and semi-arid regions of the Andes, the
conditions were found so favorable to the growth of alfalfa that it is
now the principal forage crop grown. It is almost certain that it was
brought from Chili to California, from which it has spread over much of
the cultivated portion of the arid and semi-arid west. Western grown
seed is also the chief source of supply at the present time for all the
States of the Union.

Fully a century ago attempts were made by Chancellor Livingstone and
others to introduce it into the Eastern States, but without much
success, owing, probably, to the lack of knowledge on the part of the
people as to how it should be grown. The seed at that time was doubtless
brought from European sources, probably France. It has been noticed by
more recent growers in these States that the results from sowing such
seed do not prove as satisfactory as those from American grown seed, but
that alone should not sufficiently explain why the attempts to grow
alfalfa just referred to were not successful.

But it is not alone in the areas named that alfalfa has proved so
helpful to agriculture. In Central Asia and northward it has for long
centuries furnished the Tartars with the principal forage crop grown. In
Turkestan and other places it will grow under conditions so dry as to
forbid the vigorous growth of many hardy grasses. In Southern Asia, from
India to Arabia, it has lost none of the popular favor accorded to it
long centuries ago. In Southern Russia it is extensively grown, and up
and down the basin of the Danube. In the Mediterranean provinces of
Southern Europe it is still one of the leading forage crops. In France
it stands high in the popular estimate, and also in some parts of
Germany. And even in humid England it is grown more or less freely on
dry, calcareous soils. And the day is doubtless near when in many parts
of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern South America this great
fodder plant will be found capable of yielding abundant harvests. In
some parts of Argentina it has been claimed that it grows like a weed.

It is believed by many that alfalfa if exposed to very low temperatures
will perish and that it cannot stand as much winter exposure as medium
red or alsike clover. This is only true of some varieties. Other
varieties, as the Turkestan, for instance, will endure lower
temperatures and more exposure than the clovers named. Alfalfa has been
grown with some success at the government experiment station, Indian
Head, Sask, Canada, and yet it sometimes winter kills in Texas. As with
clover, it is injured most by exposure to sweeping winds blowing over it
in winter when the mercury is low, and the injury is more fatal just
after the removal of a snow covering and when the plants are young. Ice
forming over the fields after a sudden thaw and remaining for a time is
very liable to kill the plants. It can stand considerably more summer
heat than any of the clovers grown northward, as witnessed in the good
crops grown in some parts of Louisiana during the hottest weather of
summer. Nevertheless, with reference to temperatures, what may be termed
a mild climate, such as characterizes Southern France in Europe and
Western California in the United States, is best adapted to its growth.

It is better adapted to climates that are dry, where the plants can be
irrigated, as then rains do not interfere with the harvesting of the
hay. Even in the absence of irrigation, a climate that is reasonably dry
is preferable to one where drenching rains frequently fall, which wash
away the soil when sandy, or which fill it full of water when composed
of clay. But where rains fall frequently and in moderation, as in the
northern Puget Sound region, the effect is helpful to the growth of the
alfalfa plants, although it may add somewhat to the labor of making
alfalfa hay, and to the hazard in curing it. Alfalfa will maintain its
hold for years on some portions of the table lands of the mountain
States under conditions so dry that the plants can only furnish one
cutting of hay in a season. It is safe to assume, therefore, that
alfalfa can be grown under a wider range of climatic conditions than any
other legume grown in the United States. But the influence which climate
should be allowed to exercise on the use that is to be made of it should
not be lost from view. In climates much subject to frequent rains in
summer, it should be grown rather for soiling food and pasture than for
hay, whereas in dry climates, and especially where it can be irrigated,
it should be grown for hay, soiling food and pasture, but especially the
former.

While alfalfa can be successfully grown in one or the other of its
varieties in some portion of every State in the Union, it has its
favorite feeding grounds. The best conditions for growing it are found
in the valleys of all the Rocky Mountain States, where the growth can be
regulated by the application of irrigating waters. In these the
conditions southward are superior to those northward, because of the
milder climate, which precludes the danger of winter killing by
exposure, which occasionally happens in the more northerly of the
mountain States, and because of the more prolonged season for growth,
which adds to the number of the cuttings. This does not mean that the
river bottoms in other parts of the United States will not be found good
for growing alfalfa. It can be grown in many of these; in fact, in
nearly all of them, and to some extent by the aid of irrigation, if the
waste waters were stored, but the deposit soil in these valleys being of
much closer texture than that in the western valleys, is, on the whole,
lower in adaptation than the soil in the latter.

In the western valleys of the mountain States, alfalfa is the crop
around which it may be said that agricultural production centers. It is
the principal hay crop of those States. The extent to which it may be
grown there is revolutionizing the production of live stock on the
ranges, as it is providing food for them in winter, which is fast
removing, and will probably soon entirely remove, the element of hazard
from live stock dependent on the range pastures for support in that
season. The dairy and swine industries in those valleys must largely
depend upon it. Fruit orchards must ultimately grow on buried alfalfa
meadows, and the rotation of all crops in the same will be largely
dependent upon the growing of alfalfa. Next in adaptation to the
mountain States are, it is thought, certain soils that lie between the
Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi, especially such as are in proximity
to rivers, or are underlaid with sheet water not far distant from the
surface. But an unusually large proportion of the upland soil in these
States, from Central Minnesota southward, have high adaptation for the
growth of this plant. Particularly is this true of the soils of Nebraska
and Kansas and of considerable portions of Missouri, Arkansas and
Louisiana.

In States east of the Mississippi, the adaptation is not so general, and
is more dependent on soil conditions than on those that are climatic. In
nearly all of the river bottoms of these States it will grow with more
or less success. On nearly all upland soils it will also grow well,
where the subsoil furnishes naturally good drainage. For the exception,
see page 132. But in no State east of the Mississippi, is such a
proportion of the area so highly adapted to growing alfalfa as in many
of the States west of that river. In other States areas are found in
which alfalfa will produce excellent crops, but usually these do not
embrace the larger portion of the entire area in any State. In a
considerable number of the States such areas are more or less limited,
and usually they are distributed variously in the different States; that
is, they do not lie side by side. The favorite soil conditions in these
are a good loam, preferably more or less sandy and resting upon a porous
subsoil.

A more exact idea will be given of relative adaptation in various States
in what is now submitted. In California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New
Mexico, alfalfa is now grown chiefly by the aid of irrigation, and all
of these States have highest adaptation for its growth. In some parts of
California 6 to 10 tons of cured hay are obtained in one year, with
pasture in winter additional. In Utah, good crops have been grown
successively on the same land for more than a quarter of a century. In
Colorado two cuttings are obtained the first season, and it is said that
there the plants are not easily destroyed. It yields enormously in the
irrigated valleys of New Mexico and Arizona.

In Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, it is grown with and
without irrigation. In large areas in all these States, excellent crops
are and may be grown, but the season of growth being shorter, not so
many cuttings are obtained per year as in the mountain States further
south. In Northern Idaho two cuttings may be obtained per year, even on
high, dry land.

In North Dakota, especially westward, alfalfa gives promise of
successful growth. It will grow well in much of South Dakota, especially
on sandy soils not too distant from water. In Minnesota it has been
grown successfully in Carver County since 1886. Good success is being
obtained from growing it in other parts of the State, even in some parts
of the Red River valley. In Western Iowa it is being grown with much
success, and in some portions of Eastern Iowa. In Missouri, the two
important centers for growing it are the northwest and the southeast,
but in other areas it has also done well. In Kansas it will grow well in
all parts of the State where the subsoil is porous. It has been cut for
hay in that State in less than 60 days from the date of sowing. It grows
equally well over at least two-thirds of Nebraska, especially the
eastern half, and its growth in Nebraska is rapidly extending. In the
Arkansas valley it luxuriates, and it is also being grown in Oklahoma.
In Louisiana immense fields are being grown along the Red River and in
other parts of the State. In Texas it is being grown more or less north,
east and south, and especially in the valley of the Brazos.

In the Southern States alfalfa has not in many instances been given a
good chance where tried. The plants have too frequently had to contend
there as elsewhere with ill-prepared and weedy soils and imprudent
pasturing. Yet it is being grown with considerable success, though as
yet in limited areas, in all the Southern States. It has done well in
parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, and in Georgia
are some alfalfa meadows 25 years old. In the other Southeastern States,
viz., Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida, it does well only in areas
more or less circumscribed, but it has been grown with some success even
in the rainy climate of Southern Florida.

In the States northward from the Ohio River, that is, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, the necessity for growing alfalfa has not
been so much felt as in some other States, because of the excellence of
the crops of clover grown in these. Its growth, however, is extending in
all of these States. Much of the soil in Illinois, it is said, must
first be inoculated with the bacteria proper to alfalfa before vigorous
crops can be grown, and this is probably true of sections of Indiana
soil. Some sections of Ohio are becoming noted for the crops of alfalfa
which they have grown, and in Wisconsin Hon. W. D. Hoard succeeded in
securing 5.7 tons of alfalfa hay in one season from four cuttings made
on three-fifths of an acre.

In all the Eastern and New England States, alfalfa is being grown to
some extent. In some counties of New York, as Onondaga and Madison, it
is becoming the leading soiling and hay crop. In Massachusetts it has
borne cuttings year after year on sandy loam soil. On Long Island three
to four cuttings each season have been obtained for a series of years.
It is believed that it will grow over nearly the whole of Southern
Maryland and also in much of the eastern part of that State, and its
growth has been quite successful in parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Alfalfa will grow well in considerable areas in Canada. The statement
would seem safe that at the present time profitable crops could be grown
in some parts of every province of Canada in which the land is tilled.
In Quebec, even on high land, it usually endures the winters. Near
Montreal it has been cut for soiling food at the height of 30 inches as
early as May 15th. In some parts of Eastern Ontario good crops can be
grown, and also over considerable areas of Western Ontario. The author
grew it with much success at the experiment station at Guelph in 1890
and subsequently, and during recent years considerable areas are being
grown in several of the Lake Erie counties and in those that lie north
from them. But in no part of Ontario are the conditions for growing
alfalfa better than in some of the mountain valleys of British Columbia.

But few crops, if, indeed, any, are being experimented with at the
present time to so great an extent as alfalfa; hence, the expectation is
reasonable that there will be an enormous increase in the area grown in
the future that is near. The two chief causes of failure in the past
were want of knowledge in growing and caring for it on the part of the
growers, and the absence of the proper bacteria in the soil. Acidity in
some soils and want of drainage in others are also responsible for many
of the failures referred to. But even where it does grow reasonably
well, some trouble is found from the alfalfa failing in spots. In some
instances the cause can be traced, as when coated with ice in winter, or
where the soil is not uniform, but in other instances the precise causes
have not been determined. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, however,
greatly increased areas will be grown in the future, especially in
States in which the dairy interest is paramount or even important.

=Soils.=--It was formerly thought by many that alfalfa would only grow
vigorously on soils and subsoils sandy in character, and underlaid at
some distance from the surface with water. It is now being ascertained
that it will grow on a great variety of soils, providing they are
reasonably fertile, free from acidity, sufficiently porous below to
carry away water with reasonable quickness, and not underlaid with hard
pan or a subsoil so tenacious that it is almost impervious to water.

The best soils for alfalfa are those of the Western mountain States, and
in these the deposit soils of the river valleys stand among the
foremost. These soils are usually of much depth. Many of them have water
underneath, and the subsoil is usually so porous that the roots can go
far down in them, such is the character of nearly all the bottom land
west of the Mississippi. But in nearly all of the mountain region of the
West, from Banff in British Columbia to Mexico, alfalfa will grow well
under irrigation, or in the absence of irrigation, if ground water is
not too distant from the surface. In this region alfalfa grows more
vigorously and more persistently than in almost any other portion of the
United States.

In regions where alfalfa is not dependent upon irrigation, the best
soils probably are deep, rich calcareous loams, clay or sandy, and
underlaid with what may be termed a mild or reasonably porous clay
subsoil. With such soils the plants may be in no way influenced by sheet
water below, as on some of these in Nebraska, for instance, such water
is fully 150 feet below the surface. These soils are usually possessed
of abundant food supplies to nourish the plants, and the roots can go
far down into the subsoils to gather food and moisture. Such lands are
found more or less in nearly all the States of the Union east from the
Rocky Mountains; hence, when the requisite bacteria are present, good
crops can be grown on them in every State in the Union.

On the ordinary black soils of the prairie, alfalfa will usually grow
reasonably well if underlaid with clay not too distant nor too
tenacious. When the roots get down into the subsoil, they can usually
find much food in the same, and unless in very dry areas a sufficiency
of moisture, but in many instances it may be necessary to introduce the
requisite bacteria, and to apply farmyard manure to encourage sufficient
growth to carry the roots down quickly to the subsoil. In some prairie
soils the growth will be vigorous from the start, but usually these are
lands that have grown hardwood timber, and that have in them more or
less clay.

In climates where the rainfall is considerable, alfalfa will frequently
grow well on gravelly soils and on those that are stony. Some of the
best alfalfa soils in the State of New York, New England States, and in
the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario are of this character.

Alfalfa will frequently grow fairly well even on stiff clays, and in
some instances on gumbo soils. But these soils must not be so retentive
as to collect and hold water for any considerable time within a few feet
of the surface. Such lands have usually much staying power; hence,
alfalfa grown on them frequently improves for years after it has been
sown. On the reddish soils that cover much of the South, it has been
found, as in growing alfalfa on stiff clays in the North, that where
deep subsoiling is practiced alfalfa is not only more easily
established, but it also grows with added vigor.

On upland soils sandy or gravelly in character where the rainfall is
much less than normal and where the subsoil is not underlaid with sheet
water, alfalfa will not usually succeed, notwithstanding that it may
grow well on these soils where the rainfall is normal. On such soils it
is not easy to get a stand of the plants, as they are much apt to perish
in the dry weather of the first season, but if once established on such
soils the plants have much power to grow even where the rainfall is
considerably less than normal.

Alfalfa will not grow well in soils naturally wet until they are
drained. And when drained it will not grow with normal vigor, on what
may be termed slough soils, where the subsoil is far down and covered
with a deep covering of vegetable mold. What are termed slough soils in
the Western prairies, therefore, are not well fitted for the growth of
alfalfa. On these it may not succeed well, when it may grow with much
vigor on the adjoining upland. When some wet soils are drained, alfalfa
may not succeed well on them for a time and later may grow luxuriantly.
This may arise from the lack of time for proper aeration after being
drained, or from the want of lime to further correct acidity in the
soil, or from the want of the proper bacteria. Notwithstanding that
alfalfa will not grow well on undrained lands that are naturally wet,
and notwithstanding that it will perish if the roots reach standing
water at a distance too near the surface, the best crops by far are
usually grown on irrigated lands. This arises, first, from the ability
to adjust the supplies of water to meet the needs of the plants, and
second, from the congenial character of the soil and subsoil. Next to
these the best crops are grown where congenial soils are underlaid with
ground water, not too near nor too distant from the surface. On these
soils the plants are largely supplied with moisture from the water below
ascending on the principle of capillary attraction. How near or how
distant such water should be will depend somewhat on subsoil conditions.
It would seem correct to say that it ought never to come nearer to the
surface than 3 feet, nor should it be more than 20 feet down. The most
suitable distance would be, say, 8 to 16 feet. When the roots of alfalfa
reach water at too short a depth they will die.

Alfalfa may sometimes be grown satisfactorily on soils subject to
overflow, but usually there is hazard in growing it on these. If the
overflow occurs comparatively early in the season, if it is not of great
depth, if it is of short duration, and if the waters quickly drain out
of the subsoil possessed by the alfalfa, it may receive little or no
harm from such overflow. Instances are on record wherein ice has formed
on alfalfa and yet the plants survived, but such a condition will
usually prove fatal to them. But should the overflow take place in hot
weather, usually it will injure the plants seriously, and may, indeed,
completely destroy them. So great is such hazard, that care must be
taken against the application of an excess of irrigating waters under
such conditions. Overflow waters that are stagnant are more injurious
probably than those that are in motion, owing, it may be, to the less
supply of dissolved oxygen in the former.

Soils suitable in themselves, but lying on stiff clay bottoms or
underlaid with hard pan within two or three feet of the surface, will
not maintain a good stand of alfalfa. The plants in these may grow well
for a time, probably a year or two, after which they will fail. The
roots are not able to go down to gather food. When the subsoils are
simply stiff clays, deep subsoiling, as already intimated, may render
much service, but when composed of hard pan this may not be practicable.
In moist climates, however, reasonably good crops have been obtained
from soils with underlying rock not more than four feet below the
surface.

The fact should not be overlooked that soils may have the requisite
physical conditions for growing alfalfa, and they may possess in fair
supply the essential elements of plant food, and yet alfalfa will not
succeed at the first when sown on these, because of the absence of the
soil bacteria, the presence of which is essential to the vigorous growth
of the plants. Because of this, growers should be slow to conclude that
alfalfa will not flourish on the soils on which they sow it until they
have first tried to grow it on those soils that have been inoculated
with the requisite alfalfa bacteria. For the methods of procedure in
such cases see page 53. Some persons claim that soils which will grow
medium red clover in good form will also grow alfalfa in good form.
This does not necessarily follow. While there is much of similarity in
the soils suitable for the growth of both, alfalfa may fail on lands
that grow red clover luxuriantly until the bacteria proper to alfalfa
have been introduced. Soils may be tested for bacteria, and even in
winter, by sowing some seed in pots and treating them like
well-cared-for house plants. When the plants are 2 to 3 months old, if
tubercles are found on the roots, the conclusion would seem safe that
such soil does not require inoculation.

=Place in the Rotation.=--In a certain sense it can scarcely be said of
alfalfa that it is a rotation plant, because of the long term of years
for which it is grown in an unbroken succession. Nevertheless, in all
places it cannot always be maintained for a long term of successive
years without renewal. In the Eastern States it is frequently, though
not always so crowded by various grasses, that the fields in which it
grows are broken up at some period short of ten years, and not
infrequently at the end of five or six years. When thus grown, it
becomes a rotation plant, though grown in what may be termed long
rotations. But even in the West, where, under irrigation, it may be
grown for a quarter of a century or even for a longer period without
renewal, it may be used when desired in short rotations. In such
situations it grows so readily and becomes established so quickly, that
the fields may be broken with a view to alternate with other crops at
the end of the second year, or of any year subsequently from the sowing
of the seed that may be desired. Alfalfa in these soils will serve even
better than medium red clover in such situations, since while it is
growing, it will produce more hay or soiling food, and consequently
should excel the former in the fertility which it makes available.

East of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio River, alfalfa will
frequently follow cultivated crops, as corn, potatoes and field roots,
and when the fields are broken, it will be followed by crops other than
legumes. On many soils the influence which this crop has on relieving
the surface soil from excessive moisture, through channels opened into
the subsoil by the decaying roots, is so helpful as to considerably
stimulate production in addition to the fertilizing influence which it
exerts directly. Particularly good crops of corn, the small cereal
grains, and even field roots may be grown after alfalfa.

On soils east of the Mississippi and south of the Ohio, the rotation
will be somewhat similar. But on Southern soils alfalfa will frequently
follow immediately crops especially grown to be plowed under as green
manures for the benefit of the alfalfa. These crops include cow peas,
soy beans, crimson clover, and to a limited extent, burr clover. It will
also be followed frequently by crops of cotton and other non-leguminous
plants, the growth of which in the United States is confined to the area
now being considered.

In the area west of the Mississippi and east of the semi-arid region
beside the mountains, alfalfa may follow the small cereal grains, and
may in turn be followed by them and also by millets. It may also follow
and precede corn, or the non-saccharine sorghums, where the climatic
conditions are suitable for growing the latter.

In the irrigated regions of the West, alfalfa may be made to serve
almost any purpose in the rotation that may be desired. By growing it as
a rotation crop in these valleys it may be made to furnish the soil
indefinitely with supplies of nitrogen and humus. In these soils it may
be made to follow directly almost any crop grown on them, and similarly
it may be made to precede the growth of almost any crop for which the
locality has marked adaptation. Small cereal grains, timothy,
vegetables, field roots, potatoes, corn, small fruits and orchards may
be profitably grown on buried alfalfa meadows. This does not imply,
however, that alfalfa meadows should not, as a rule, be maintained for a
long term of years.

=Preparing the Soil.=--In preparing the soil for alfalfa the aim should
be to make a seed-bed clean, rich, fine, moist, even, and sufficiently
firm or friable, according to the conditions. The subsoil should also be
made sufficiently dry and open. From what has just been said, it will be
apparent that in properly preparing the seed-bed, it will be necessary
to study closely the requisite conditions.

The advantage from having a clean seed-bed will be apparent when it is
called to mind that alfalfa is a somewhat delicate plant when young, and
that because of this, it is ill able to overcome in the fight with
weeds. Cleanness in the surface soil may be obtained by summerfallowing
the land, by growing a root crop or a crop of corn or any of the
non-saccharine sorghums. When the seed is spring sown, this preparation
must be given the year previously, but when autumn sown, it may be given
the same season. In preparing the land thus, the aim should be to make
the surface as clean as possible, rather than to get weed seeds out of
the lower strata of the cultivated soil, in which they will likely
perish before the field sown to alfalfa is broken up again.
Summerfallowing makes an excellent preparation for the land, because of
the fine opportunity which it furnishes for cleaning the same perfectly
and leveling it off properly. The excellent condition in which it puts
the seed-bed, viewed from the standpoint of the duration of the years of
cropping that are likely to follow, would seem to more than justify such
preparation of the land. The outcome may more than justify the loss of
the crop for one season when thus summerfallowing the land. But it may
not be necessary to lose the production of one season whether the seed
is sown spring or autumn, as the summerfallowing in the North may follow
the pasturing off of some crop, and in the South the interval for
fallowing the land may be sufficiently long after the harvesting of an
early winter grain crop, before sowing the seed in the autumn. (See page
136.)

When sowing the seed autumn or spring, on land that is filled with weed
seeds near the surface, it is frequently better to defer sowing the seed
for some weeks to give time for sprouting many of these than to sow at
once. This suggestion is specially applicable to spring sowing. It
should also be mentioned that when the weeds infesting the soil are
annual or even biennial in character, the harm done to the alfalfa by
these will be much less than when the land is infested with perennials
at the time of sowing. The former may be prevented from seeding by
clipping back frequently, while the latter remain in the soil, increase
from year to year, and injure the plants by crowding. Where crab grass
grows abundantly, as in some parts of the South, unless the alfalfa is
sown and cultivated, spring sowing ought to be avoided. But it is less
objectionable to sow alfalfa on land that is weedy when the adaptation
of the land for the crop is high than when it is low, as the alfalfa in
the former instance has so much more power to fight its own battle. On
good alfalfa soils, therefore, it may be wiser in some instances to sow
alfalfa in weed-infested land than to defer sowing for a whole year in
order to clean the land.

It is greatly important that the land shall be rich in available plant
food on which the seed is sown. If naturally poor, it should be well
fertilized before sowing. When this cannot be done, it is better not to
sow. A vast preponderance of the land in the Rocky Mountain region, when
first broken, would seem to possess abundantly all the essential foods
required by alfalfa; hence, for a time, at least, it is not necessary to
enrich these before sowing the seed. The sandy and hungry gravelly
soils, which are considerable in the South, in the Atlantic States, and
in some of the Central and Northern States, should be fertilized before
laying them down to alfalfa. Such fertilization usually calls for both
humus and readily available plant food, and these are most cheaply
supplied by growing certain green crops and plowing them under, or by
applying farmyard manure. These may be supplemented when necessary by
commercial fertilizers. Some precede alfalfa on such soils by growing
cow peas or soy beans, followed by crimson clover, both crops being
plowed in, and shortly before sowing the alfalfa they apply more or less
of phosphoric acid and potash, which is usually incorporated in the
surface soil by the harrow. On some soils, as in some parts of Florida,
two successive crops of cow peas should be plowed under before sowing
alfalfa. When farmyard manure can be used in fertilizing those leechy
soils it is well when it can be applied on the surface in a somewhat
decomposed form and also kept near the surface during the subsequent
cultivation given when preparing the seed-bed. In the North it is best
applied in the autumn or winter, and in the South in the summer. But on
loam soils with a reasonably retentive subsoil, the better way to apply
farmyard manure is to make a heavy application of the same to the crop
preceding the alfalfa. It has thus become incorporated with the soil,
and many weed seeds in it will have sprouted before sowing the alfalfa.
The results from applying manure on soil somewhat stiff and not highly
productive have been noticeably marked. This may have been owing in part
to the mechanical influence of the manure on the land. The relation
between the free application of farmyard manure and abundant growth in
alfalfa is so marked in all, or nearly all, soils west of the
Mississippi River that in many instances better crops will be obtained
from poor soils well manured than from good soils unmanured. The
relation between abundant manuring and soil inoculation is worthy of
more careful study, in the judgment of the author, than has yet been
accorded to it.

Fine pulverization of the surface soil is advantageous when sowing
alfalfa, because of the influence which it has upon the retention of
moisture near the surface, and upon the exclusion from the soil of an
overabundance of light. It is in clay soils, of course, that this
condition is most difficult to secure. The agencies in securing it are
the cultivator, the harrow and the roller, and in many instances the
influences of weather, after the land has been plowed, especially when
plowed in the autumn prior to spring seeding.

Moistness in the seed-bed sufficient to promptly sprout the seed is a
prime essential, but it is very much more important where the seasons
are dry than where the lack of rain is but little feared. When the seed
is sown after summerfallow or cultivated crops, it is usually considered
preferable to make the seed-bed without using the plow, but to this
there may be some exceptions. If sowing is deferred for a few weeks in
the spring on such lands, or on other lands autumn plowed or early
spring plowed, a free use of the harrow ought to be made in the
interval, because of the favorable influence which this will have on the
retention of moisture. In preparing some soils for autumn sowing after
a grain crop, as in some parts of Nebraska and Kansas, it is only
necessary to use the harrow; in preparing others the disk and harrow;
and in yet others the disk and harrow and roller. In preparing other
soils, as the clays of the South, it may be necessary first to plow and
subsoil, and subsequently to use sufficiently the harrow and roller.

Evenness in the soil on the surface is important when it is so retentive
that water may collect in the depressions after heavy rain. In such
places the plants are much liable to fail, especially in the early
winter, or even shortly after they may have begun to grow, if moisture
is excessive. In order to smooth and even the land sufficiently, it may
be necessary to run over it some form of leveller. This does not mean,
however, that it will not be necessary sometimes to plow the land in
ridges, or "lands," as they are sometimes called, but it does mean that
the slope from the center of the lands toward the furrows shall be even
and gradual, in order that an excess of surface water, as in rainy
climates, shall be carried away by the latter.

Firmness in the seed-bed is necessary chiefly to prevent too much drying
out near the surface in dry weather, and the holding of too much water
in the spaces between the particles near the surface in wet weather,
followed by freezing of the soil. The less deep the stirring of the
cultivated portion when preparing it, the longer the interval between
such stirring and the sowing of the seed, and the heavier the pressure
when rolling, the more firm will the seed-bed be. The deeper the land
is plowed, therefore, the longer should be the interval before it is
sowed, but ample rainfall will shorten this period. Firmness in the
seed-bed is more important, relatively, in summer or early autumn when
evaporation from the surface soil is the most rapid. On some soils of
the Middle States which border on the Mississippi, the early sown autumn
crop will sometimes perish after the plants have grown some distance
above the ground, because of want of firmness in the soil; hence, in
such locations harrowing the surface of the ground thoroughly may
sometimes be a more suitable preparation than plowing and harrowing.

Friability in the seed-bed is important when the soils are heavy. The
influences which promote it are the presence of humus, liberal
cultivation, and sometimes weather influences, as rain and frost. Unless
heavy clay soils are brought into this condition, the roots of the
alfalfa will not be able to penetrate the soil quickly enough or deeply
enough in search of food.

As has been intimated, it will not avail to sow alfalfa in soils not
sufficiently drained naturally or otherwise. Usually, good alfalfa soils
have sufficient drainage naturally, the subsoil being sufficiently open
to admit of the percolation of water down into the subsoil with
sufficient quickness. But good crops of alfalfa may be grown on subsoils
so retentive that underdrainage is necessary to facilitate the escape of
an excess of moisture with sufficient quickness. The question has been
raised as to whether the roots of the plants will be much liable to
enter and choke the drains at the joints between the tiles. While it
would not be safe to say that this would never happen, it is not likely
to happen, owing to the character of the root growth. Where too much
water is held near the surface, in climates characterized by alternate
freezing and thawing in winter, the young plants will certainly be
thrown out through the heaving of the soil.

The subsoiling of lands not sufficiently open below will be greatly
helpful to the growth of alfalfa. This may also be true of lands not
over-retentive naturally, but made so by the treading of the animals for
successive years on the soil under the furrow when plowing the land. In
some conditions, without subsoiling thus, the growing of alfalfa will
not be successful, but in doing this work, care should be taken not to
bring up raw subsoil to the surface. In subsoiling for alfalfa, usually
the more deeply the ground can be stirred by the subsoiler, the better
will be the results that will follow. Subsoiling is particularly helpful
to the growing of alfalfa on many of the clay soils of the South.

In the far West, toward the mountains, and probably within the same, are
areas in which excellent stands of alfalfa may be obtained by simply
sowing the seed on surfaces stirred with a disk or with a heavy harrow
weighted while it is being driven over the land. The implements should
be driven first one way and then the other, and, of course, the seed is
harrowed after it has been sown. Where the soil is sufficiently level,
this plan of preparing will prove satisfactory, more especially where
water can be put upon the land, but it will also succeed frequently in
the absence of irrigating waters. In some instances the disking and
sowing are both done by the same implement, which is driven both ways
across the field.

Alfalfa is sometimes sown, and with profit, on steep hill sides which
are inclined to wash. When set on these it tends to prevent the washing
of the land. In such situations it is better to sow with a nurse crop,
which will help to hold the soil until the alfalfa becomes rooted. Where
land is so loose as to blow and irrigation cannot be practiced, only as
much should be sown each season as can be covered with stable litter and
well-rotted straw drawn out at the proper season.

=Sowing.=--The best season for sowing alfalfa will depend upon such
conditions as relate to soil, moisture and climate. On rather stiff clay
soils, the other conditions being right, the most satisfactory results
are obtained from sowing the seed in the spring, and on land that has
been plowed in the autumn and exposed to the mellowing influences of
winter. But to this there may be some exceptions. On lands so light as
to lift with the wind, that season should be avoided in sowing, if
possible, when lifting winds prevail. Such winds are common in some
localities in the spring, and may uncover the seed in some places and
bury it too deeply in others.

Where moisture is deficient the seed must be sown at those times when it
is most plentiful. This may be in the autumn, but more commonly it is in
the quite early spring. In some of the mountain States the best results
have been obtained under semi-arid conditions from sowing the seed in
the late autumn, so that it would be ready for germination at the first
commencement of the period of growth in the spring. Under some
conditions the too dry character of the weather may preclude the sowing
of alfalfa in the summer and autumn months. Where moisture is plentiful
all the season of growth, alfalfa may be sown almost any time, except
the early spring or late autumn. Where irrigating waters are plentiful,
the only hindrances to sowing alfalfa at any season of the year are such
as may arise from climate. Far South in very mild areas it may be sown
almost any time.

Where the temperatures are low in winter, the best results are obtained
from sowing alfalfa in the spring and early summer, otherwise the plants
do not become sufficiently well established to withstand the rigors of
the winter following. Under some conditions, sufficiently satisfactory
results follow sowing in the early summer, even in Northern latitudes.
Where the winters are sufficiently mild and the moisture is sufficiently
plentiful, early autumn sowing, as in August or September, according to
the locality, is, all things considered, the most satisfactory, for the
reason, first, that it follows, or may follow, a crop grown the same
season; second, that the plants are less hindered in their growth by
weeds when they are young; and third, that they produce crops of soiling
food or hay the first season after sowing. Many weeds do not grow in
autumn and winter; hence, the less injury done by them to alfalfa
plants, since the latter are so strong by spring that they overshadow
the weeds in their effort to grow. When alfalfa is sown at such a time,
the growth of one year virtually is gained by the process.

North of parallel 40°, that is, north of the latitude of Columbus, Ohio,
and Denver, Colorado, speaking in a general way, alfalfa is more
commonly sown in the spring, but not usually so early as clover, lest
the young plants, which are more tender than clover plants, should be
nipped by spring frosts. This danger is frequently present in the region
of the upper Missouri. East of the Mississippi it may usually be
advisable to sow in the spring some distance south from the latitude
named. West from the same are areas where early autumn sowing is
frequently the best. In much of the Southern and Southwestern States,
early autumn sowing is considered better practice than spring sowing,
but to this there are exceptions. Under some conditions alternate
freezing and thawing of the land near the surface tend to throw out
young plants, as, for instance, those autumn sown, more readily than
plants from spring-sown seed.

Alfalfa is usually sown much the same as medium red clover (see page
75), but there are the following points of difference: 1. Since alfalfa
is more commonly sown in dry areas, it is more important, relatively,
that the seed shall be buried more uniformly and deeply in the soil in
such areas. 2. Since it is liable to be more injured, relatively, by a
nurse crop than the clovers, it is more frequently sown without one.
And 3. Since it is expected to furnish food for a much longer term of
years than any of the clovers, it is relatively more important that the
seed shall be sown with a view to seek a uniform and sufficient stand of
the plants.

Whether the seed is sown by hand, or by any of the hand machines in use,
the results will usually prove satisfactory, but in climates where
moisture is deficient, decidedly better results are obtained from sowing
the seed with some form of seed drill. A press drill is preferred in
soils so light and open as to dry out easily or to lift easily with the
wind. Under conditions of ample moisture, a light covering with a harrow
will suffice, but under conditions the opposite, more covering is
necessary. In areas where spring and early autumn showers are frequent,
the roller will provide a sufficient covering, especially where the
soils are well charged with a clay content. On other soils, as those
which cover much of the prairie, the seed should be buried from 1 to 2
inches deep.

Where alfalfa is much sown on soils well supplied with humus, and on the
soils which prevail in the Rocky Mountain region, many growers sow the
seed with the grain drill, and before sowing they first mix the seed
with some material, as earth, some kind of coarse meal, bran or other
substance to make it feed out more regularly. In some instances one-half
of the seed is sown the first time the drill is driven over the land,
and the balance is sown by driving again over the same at right angles
to the drill marks previously made. When thus sown, the plants are more
evenly distributed over the soil, and produce, it is thought, a more
uniform quality of stalk. This method meets, in part, at least, the
objection sometimes made to drill sowing, that it does not distribute
the plants sufficiently in the soil.

In the Northern and Atlantic States, also west of the Cascade Mountains,
and in some parts of the South, alfalfa is frequently sown with a nurse
crop, and under favorable conditions the results are usually
satisfactory, if the nurse crop is not sown too thickly. The best nurse
crops in the areas named are barley and winter rye, but oats will answer
also, if sown thinly and cut for hay. It has also been sown quite
successfully along with winter wheat in the spring and also with spring
wheat. When sown with winter wheat or winter rye, it is usually
advantageous to cover the seed well with the harrow. In many instances,
however, even in these areas, it is thought better to sow the seed
without a nurse crop, in order that the plants may have all the benefit
from moisture and sunlight which it is possible to give them. This is
specially desirable when the fear is present that they may succumb the
first winter to the severity of the weather. As weeds grow rapidly along
with the plants, the mower should be run over the field from one to
three times during the season. If the mowing is done at the proper time,
it will not be necessary to remove what has been cut off by the mower.
It may be allowed to lie as a mulch on the land. But should the growth
of weeds be excessive before the mowing is done, it would then be
necessary to remove them, in order to avoid smothering the plants. The
clipping back of the alfalfa plants is helpful, rather than hurtful.
When not thus clipped back the leaves frequently assume a yellowish tint
on the top of the plants, which gradually extends downward until the
greater portion of the leaves may be thus affected. Such condition
frequently betokens a lack of nitrogen, but it may also be induced by
other causes. When it does appear, the mower should at once be used and
also as often as it appears. As soon as mowed off the plants usually
stool out, sending up fresh shoots more numerously. They thus form a
crown, somewhat like the crown in clover plants. Root growth is also
strengthened, and the plants are thus made much stronger for going into
the winter. Each clipping during the season, of course, cuts down weeds
and prevents them from making seed. If not thus clipped, they would
frequently injure the crop more by shade and crowding than would a nurse
crop. The mulch thus made through clipping back the plants is in many
instances quite helpful to them, because of the check which it gives to
the escape of ground moisture. There is some difference in the view held
as to whether close clipping is preferable, but the balance of authority
is in favor of reasonably close clipping.

Alfalfa is usually sown alone, but in some instances it maybe
advantageous to sow more or less of some other kind or kinds of grass or
clover along with it. When grown for hay it is usually preferable to
sow the seed without admixture. But there may be instances in which
medium red or alsike clover may improve the crop the first year or two
that it is mown for hay. But where red clover grows much more vigorously
than alfalfa the first season, it should not be thus sown in any
considerable quantities, or the clover plants will injure the alfalfa
plants by crowding and overshading. Nevertheless, alfalfa may frequently
with profit form a considerable factor in clover grown as pasture.

Where the main purpose of sowing alfalfa is to provide pasture, various
grasses and clovers may be sown along with it, and in varying
quantities, according to the attendant conditions. The choice of the
variety or varieties to sow along with the alfalfa should be based on
the needs of the stock to be pastured, and on the degree of the vigor
with which these grow and maintain themselves in the locality. In the
Northern States and Eastern Canada timothy and Russian brome grass
(_Bromus inermis_) may be chosen. In areas with Southern Illinois as a
center, red top and timothy should be satisfactory. In the Southern
States, the claims of orchard grass and tall oat grass would probably be
paramount. In areas with Iowa as a center, nothing would be more
suitable, probably, than Russian brome grass. In the mountain States,
with Wyoming as a center, timothy and alsike clover would be suitable.
In the dry upland country in Washington and Oregon, Russian brome grass
or tall oat grass would answer the purpose. In many areas the plan of
sowing clover chiefly with the alfalfa is a good one, providing the
alfalfa is cut for a year or two, and is then grazed, as by that time
grasses indigenous to the locality, or which grow well in the same, come
in to such an extent as to form a very considerable proportion of the
pasture. Blue grass frequently behaves thus in the North, and crab grass
in the South.

The amounts of seed to sow will vary with the character of the soil and
climate, with the use that is to be made of the alfalfa, and with the
manner in which it is sown. On soils and in climates quite favorable to
the growth of alfalfa it is common to sow more seed than in those with
less adaptation, and with a view, probably, to check coarseness in the
growth of the stems. If sown thinly in such areas, the rank growth which
follows would be coarse. This explains why in the Western and mountain
States more seed is usually sown than in the Eastern and Northern
States. Averaging the whole country, 20 pounds of seed per acre is more
frequently mentioned as the proper amount to sow than any other
quantity. In the Northern States many growers sow 15 pounds per acre,
and judging by the yield obtained, this amount of seed has proved
satisfactory. Some growers even mention 10 to 12 pounds as satisfactory.
The amounts last named are certainly too small for average conditions.
Fifteen to 20 pounds may be fixed upon as the proper amounts to sow on
soil in good condition for speedy germination. But many growers claim
satisfactory results from sowing larger amounts of seed than those
named. Under semi-arid conditions, where irrigation cannot be given, a
moderate amount of seed will be more satisfactory than very thick
seeding, as when sown too thickly the plants would suffer more from want
of moisture than if sown more thinly. The aim should be to obtain a
stand that will cover the ground evenly and as thickly as will admit of
the vigorous growing of the plants. Because of the relatively long
duration of the period of the growth of alfalfa fields, it is specially
important that good stands shall be obtained at the first, and for the
further reason that the plants will then be better able to contend with
intruding weeds, the great bane of alfalfa meadows.

When alfalfa is grown mainly for seed, it should be more thinly sown
than when it is grown for hay or soiling food. It has been noticed that
when the plants stand thickly beyond a certain degree, they do not seed
well. Twelve to 16 pounds have been mentioned as quite enough to sow for
such production in the mountain States. Where both objects are
important, medium thick sowing would be the most suitable.

When sown in combinations such as have been named above, it will be
necessary to modify somewhat the amounts of alfalfa seed sown, according
to the proportion of the other seeds sown with the alfalfa. But since
many grasses are more aggressive than alfalfa, it is not necessary to
reduce the amount of alfalfa seed sown proportionately to the amounts of
the other seeds that may be sown along with it. In many instances it may
be proper not to reduce the amount of the alfalfa seed at all, as some
of these grasses will soon crowd the alfalfa plants, to their injury,
even though the usual amount of seed should be sown. The amount of the
grasses sown with the alfalfa will, of course, vary. It will seldom be
necessary in any instance to sow more than 6 or 7 pounds per acre, and
under many conditions not more than 5 pounds. When alfalfa is sown with
timothy and clover in temporary meadows or pastures, it is seldom
necessary to sow more than 3 to 5 pounds per acre, and the same is true
of it when sown in a permanent pasture. The crop is so little grown for
hay in mixtures, that it is scarcely necessary to dwell upon the nature
of these, or the respective amounts of seed to sow in making them.

When alfalfa is sown with the grain, there will be a saving of seed to
the extent of at least 20 per cent., as compared with broadcast sowing.
This arises from the more general sprouting of all the seeds, since they
are planted at a more uniform depth, and from the subsequent loss of a
smaller percentage of the plants through drought, and it may be other
causes. But when sowing broadcast, it will in many instances prove more
satisfactory to add 20 per cent. to the amounts mentioned above, as
suitable for being sown without admixture with other grasses and
clovers, rather than to deduct 20 per cent. from these amounts when
sowing the seed with the drill.

=Cultivating.=--Under some conditions, it is, in a sense, necessary to
sow alfalfa in rows, and to give it cultivation during the first season
and sometimes for a longer period. In some parts of Florida, for
instance, the most satisfactory results have been obtained from sowing
in rows with 12 to 24 inches between the rows, and then to cultivate
between these as may be necessary to keep down the growth of weeds.
Under some conditions also in the Atlantic States, the most satisfactory
results have been obtained from sowing alfalfa in rows 14 to 16 inches
apart and cultivating between them. Even hand hoeing the first season
may be justifiable along the line of the rows for small areas, but with
the price of labor as at present, would be too costly for large areas.
When grown in rows as indicated in the Atlantic States and westward from
these, the yields of seed have been more satisfactory than when sown
broadcast, but the crop is less satisfactory for hay, owing to the
coarse and uneven character of the stems. The amounts of seed wanted for
such sowing will, of course, vary chiefly with the distance between the
rows. As small an amount as 6 pounds or even less will in some instances
suffice per acre.

=Pasturing.=--The practice of pasturing alfalfa the first season,
especially where it cannot be irrigated, is usually condemned, lest it
should weaken the plants unduly for entering the winter. It would seem
probable, however, that under some conditions such grazing would be
helpful rather than hurtful. The cropping of the plants by stock, in the
influence which it exerts upon the plants, is akin to that which arises
from cutting them back frequently during the summer. The animals thus
grazed will also crop down weeds. This, at least, is true of sheep. The
author has succeeded in getting a good stand of alfalfa by sowing seed
at the rate of 15 pounds per acre, along with 2 to 4 pounds of Dwarf
Essex rape seed, and grazing the same with sheep. Other growers, during
recent years, have succeeded similarly. The grazing should not begin
until the plants have made a good start, but it should not be deferred
so long that the rape and the weeds will unduly shade the alfalfa
plants. The pasturing should not be too close, nor should it be so long
continued that the alfalfa plants will not be able to provide a good
growth in the early autumn before the advent of winter.

The management of the spring-sown crop the first season requires careful
attention in areas where the hazard exists in any considerable degree
that the plants may take serious harm at that season, or, indeed, fail
altogether. In Western areas, from Canada to Kentucky and Missouri, it
is important that the stubbles of the grain shall be cut high, amid
which alfalfa grows when it is sown with a nurse crop. When not thus
sown, it is of prime importance that the plants shall stand up several
inches above the surface of the ground before the advent of winter. This
is specially important in States west of the Mississippi River. The
objects effected are three-fold. First, the snow is arrested and held
for the protection of the plants, and to furnish them with moisture when
the snow melts. The extent to which the stubbles and the erect young
alfalfa plants will hold snow is simply surprising. On the exposed
prairies, the snow usually drifts so completely from unprotected lands,
that during almost any winter a large proportion of the area will be
quite bare. The melting of the snow thus held is also of much value to
the crop in the moisture which it brings to it, especially in areas
where the rainfall is less than normal. Second, the plants are thus
protected from the sweep of the cold winds which blow so much of the
season in the unprotected prairie, and which are frequently fatal to
various winter crops. Third, they are also protected from the intensity
of the frost, which may in some instances kill young alfalfa plants in
areas northward.

In the Northern States east of Minnesota, the New England States, and
the provinces of Canada east of Lake Huron, the considerable covering on
the ground is not so important, relatively, to protect the plants
against the coming winter, but it is also of considerable importance, as
sometimes the early snows melt so completely that the fields are left
bare in midwinter. The warm temperatures which melt the snow may be
followed by a cold wave, which may be greatly injurious to the plants.
There may be instances, as where the snow usually falls very deeply, in
which the covering left would prove excessive, and so tend to smother
the plants; hence, sometimes it may be necessary to guard against too
much covering.

If the plants should lack age or vigor on entering the first winter, a
top-dressing of farmyard manure will render great service in protecting
them. This, however, is only practicable with comparatively limited
areas. It is sometimes practiced in the North Atlantic States, where
the manure thus applied will prove greatly helpful to the growth of the
alfalfa during the following season. These precautions to guard against
the severity of winter weather are not nearly so necessary in the Rocky
Mountain States where irrigation is practiced. In these, alfalfa spring
sown is sometimes pastured during the following winter, and without any
great harm to the crop. Thus greatly do conditions vary.

It may also be well to remember that where rainfall is usually plentiful
and sometimes excessive, that a better stand of the young plants can be
obtained when the rainfall is moderate than when it is copious.
Saturated ground is hurtful to the young plants. They will not grow
properly under such conditions and are likely to assume a sickly
appearance. Mildew may appear and the plants may fail in patches. And
this may happen on land which will ordinarily produce reasonably good
crops of alfalfa after they have once been established.

The value of alfalfa in providing pasture is more restricted than in
providing hay. This arises in part from the injury which may come to the
plants from grazing too closely at certain times, and in a greater
degree from injury which may result to certain animals which may feed
upon the plants, more especially cattle and sheep, through bloating, to
which it frequently gives rise.

This plant is pre-eminently a pasture for swine. They may be grazed upon
it with profit all the season, from spring until fall. No plant now
grown in the United States will furnish so much grazing from a given
area in localities well adapted to its growth. Swine are very fond of
it. Some growers do not feed any grain supplement to their swine when
grazing on alfalfa, but it is generally believed that, under average
conditions, it is wise to supplement the alfalfa pasture daily with a
light feed of grain, carbonaceous in character, as of rye, corn or
barley, and that this should be gradually increased with the advancement
of the grazing season. One acre of alfalfa will provide pasture for 5 to
15 head of swine, through all the grazing season, dependent upon the
degree of the favorable character of the conditions for growth in the
alfalfa, the age of the swine, and the extent to which the pasture is
supplemented with grain. But in some instances the area named will graze
at least 15 hogs through all the growing season without a grain
supplement.

Swine may be turned in to graze on alfalfa when well set, as soon as it
begins to grow freely in the spring. It should be so managed that the
grazing will be kept reasonably tender and succulent. For swine pasture
the plants should never be allowed to reach the blossoming stage. This
can be managed by running the field mower over the pasture occasionally
when the stems are growing long and coarse. Close and prolonged grazing
by swine will tend to shorten the period of the life of the alfalfa. The
extent to which this result will follow will depend upon soil and
climatic conditions and the closeness of the grazing. To avoid such a
result and also to secure the utilization of the food to the utmost,
some growers advocate cutting the alfalfa and feeding it to swine as
soiling. The advisability of handling it thus will be dependent to some
extent on the relative price of labor.

The best results, relatively, from growing alfalfa to provide pasture
will be found in the Western valleys, where alfalfa grows with much
vigor, and in certain areas of the South, where it grows freely and can
be pastured during much of the year. In areas eminently adapted to the
growth of clover, it is not so necessary to grow alfalfa for such a use.
In Western areas, where Canada field peas are a success, and especially
where artichokes are not hidden from swine by frost, pork can be grown
very cheaply, and without the necessity of harvesting any very large
portion of these crops, except through grazing them down by swine.

Such conditions would be highly favorable to the maintenance of health
in the swine, and the quality of the pork made would be of the best. In
some instances a small stack of Canada field peas is put up in the swine
pasture that the swine may help themselves from the same the following
year, as in rainless or nearly rainless climates, where such grain will
keep long without injury.

Alfalfa furnishes excellent grazing for horses, more especially when
they are not at work. Like other succulent pastures, it tends too much
to induce laxness in the bowels with horses which graze it, without any
dry fodder supplement. But it has high adaptation for providing pasture
for brood mares, colts, and horses that are idle or working but little.
While it induces abundant milk production in brood mares, and induces
quick and large growth in colts until matured, it is thought by some
practical horsemen that horses grown chiefly on alfalfa have not the
staying power and endurance of those, for instance, that are grazed
chiefly on Kentucky blue grass and some other grasses. There is probably
some truth in the surmise, and if so, the objection raised could be met
by dividing the grazing either through alternating the same with other
pastures or by growing some other grass or grasses along with the
alfalfa.

The alfalfa furnishes excellent grazing for cattle, whether they are
grown as stockers, are kept for milk producing, or are being fattened
for beef. For the two purposes first named it has high excellence, and
it will also produce good beef, but alfalfa grazing alone will not
finish animals for the block quite so well without a grain supplement as
with one. But the danger is usually present to a greater or less degree
that cattle thus grazed may suffer from bloat, induced by eating the
green alfalfa. This danger increases with the humidity of the
atmosphere, with the succulence of the alfalfa, and with the degree of
the moisture resting on it, as from dew or rain. This explains why in
some sections the losses from this source are much greater than in
others. It also explains why such losses are greater in some areas than
in others. It is considered that grazing alfalfa with cattle in the
mountain valleys is less hazardous than in areas East and Southeast, as
the atmosphere is less humid, the danger from the succulence can be
better controlled by the amount of irrigating water supplied, and
because of the infrequency of the rainfall. Nevertheless, the losses
from bloat are sometimes severe in both cattle and sheep in the mountain
States, notwithstanding that some seasons large herds are grazed upon
alfalfa through the entire season without any loss.

Cattle grazed upon alfalfa may be so managed that the extent of this
hazard will be very much lessened, if not entirely obviated, but with
large herds some of the precautionary methods now to be submitted may
not always be practicable. They should never be turned in to graze upon
alfalfa when hungry. Some grazers adopt the plan of leaving them on the
grazing continuously when once put in to graze. Others leave them in for
a limited time each day at the first, increasing the duration of the
pasturing period from day to day. After managing them thus for a week or
two, the animals are only removed from the pasture for such purposes as
milking. Others, again, feed some alfalfa or other food in the morning
before turning them on to alfalfa pastures. Another plan adopted is to
graze them on a field of other grazing, located, if possible, beside the
alfalfa field, until after the dew has lifted, and then to open the gate
into the alfalfa pasture. This is readily practicable with a herd of
cows, but not to anything like the same extent with a large herd being
grown for beef.

The danger from bloat in pasturing sheep upon alfalfa is at least as
great as in pasturing cattle on the same, and the methods of managing
them while thus being grazed are not far different. So, too, the
experiences in such grazing are very similar. The losses from such
grazing some seasons have been slight. Other seasons they have proved so
heavy as to make such grazing unprofitable. When sheep are being grazed
on alfalfa, a light feed of grain given in the early morning reduces
materially the danger from bloat. It also enables the flock-master to
finish his sheep or lambs for the market cheaply and in fine form, since
this small grain factor, not necessarily more than half a pound a day,
whether given as wheat, rye, barley, oats or corn, puts the ration
practically in balance for the purpose named, and it may be given to the
sheep daily in troughs without taking them out of the pasture.

It is thought that there is more danger to cattle and sheep from grazing
on alfalfa than on any of the clovers, and probably such is the case.
But whether this is true or not, the danger is very considerable, and is
enhanced by the presence of frost as well as the presence of moisture,
from much succulence in the plants, from rain and from dew. So great is
the danger that the inexperienced should proceed with much caution in
such grazing. When bloat does occur, the method of dealing with it is
given on page 95.

The tendency to produce bloat in alfalfa pastures decreases with the
extent to which other grasses are present in the pastures. Should
alfalfa be grown, therefore, for the purpose of providing pasture, some
other grass or grasses should be sown along with it. Which of these
should be thus sown ought to depend chiefly on the adaptation of the
grasses for producing vigorous growth under the conditions present. In
the States east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio, and in all of
Canada east from Lake Huron, alfalfa may be made an important feature in
pastures variously composed. For instance, on suitable soils alfalfa may
be made an important feature in pastures composed otherwise of medium
red and alsike clover and timothy. The author can speak from experience
as to the slightness of the danger from grazing cattle and sheep on such
pastures. In the Southern States tall oat grass could be sown with the
alfalfa, and probably orchard grass. In some areas alfalfa will maintain
its hold on lands smitten with Johnson grass, both producing freely. In
much of Kansas meadow fescue would answer the purpose, northward brome
grass would probably answer, and in some places timothy. In Idaho and
the States adjoining, tall oat grass, meadow fescue and orchard grass
will all be helpful, and in some of the mountain States it has been
found that when alsike clover is grown freely in alfalfa pastures, the
tendency to bloat is not only lessened in the animals grazing, but the
value of the pasture, especially for winter grazing, is greatly
improved. Some grazers, especially in the mountain States, have adopted
the plan of sowing other pastures, as wheat or barley, beside the
alfalfa pastures, and these are made accessible at will to the animals
that are being grazed. The plan has some commendable features, but
grazing animals thus does not reduce the danger as much as when they are
grazed on pastures in which other grasses grow up amid alfalfa. In some
of the Western States pure alfalfa meadows are grazed through successive
seasons with but little loss, but in such instances the grazing began in
the spring and was continuous. Judicious care should be exercised in
grazing alfalfa lest the stand of the plants shall be injured. The
liability to injury in the plants from injudicious grazing increases
with the lack of adaptation in the soil and climate for abundant and
prolonged growth in the alfalfa.

In a large majority of instances, as previously intimated, it is not
wise to graze down alfalfa at all closely the season of sowing, and in
some instances it should not then be grazed to any extent, lest the
plants be unduly weakened for entering the winter. In cold areas the
hazard is much greater from such grazing than in those that are mild,
and likewise, it is greater when the growth is only moderately vigorous
than in areas where alfalfa grows with the vigor of a weed, as in
Western mountain valleys. In areas where the winters are cold, and
especially where the snowfall is light and the winds have a wide sweep,
the animals which graze upon alfalfa should be removed in time to allow
the plants to grow up to the height of several inches before the advent
of winter. The growth thus secured will catch and hold the snow, and the
protection thus furnished is greatly helpful to the preservation and
vigor of the plants. Experience has shown that in Northern areas
pasturing alfalfa in winter, especially when the ground is bare and
frozen, brings imminent hazard to the plants. On the other hand, grazing
in winter in the mountain valleys, when as far north as Central
Montana, may be practiced with little or no hazard to the stand of
plants when these have become well established. In such areas alfalfa
may be grazed practically as may be desired, providing this grazing is
not too close.

Cattle injure alfalfa less than other animals when they graze upon it,
as they do not crop it too closely; swine injure it more, if the grazing
is constant. Horses do even greater injury, through biting the crowns of
the plants too closely; but sheep injure alfalfa pastures more than any
of these animals, when the grazing is close, owing to the extent to
which they trim off the leaves.

=As Soiling Food.=--For being fed as soiling food, alfalfa has the very
highest adaptation, owing, 1. To the long period covered by the growth.
2. To the rapidity of the growth resulting in large relative production.
3. To the palatability of the green food produced. 4. To the entire
safety to the animals fed. And 5. To its high feeding value. In
Louisiana, for instance, alfalfa may be made to furnish soiling food for
nine months in the year. In the North, of course, the duration of
production is much less, but it is seldom less than five months. The
growth is so rapid that cuttings for soiling food may usually be made at
intervals of four to six weeks, according to season and climate; hence,
the cuttings for soiling food will run all the way from two to eight or
nine each season. It is so palatable that horses, mules, cattle, sheep
and swine relish it highly. When wilted a little before being fed, the
danger of producing bloat is eliminated. Its feeding value is nearly
the same as that of the medium red clover, thus making it in itself what
may be termed a balanced or perfect food for horses, mules, cattle and
sheep until development is completed and subsequently when they are at
rest; that is, when they are not producing, as in the form of labor or
milk.

The highest use, probably, from feeding alfalfa when green will arise
from feeding it to milch cows. Its high protein content in combination
with its succulence pre-eminently adapts it to such a use. Wherever
alfalfa can be grown and will produce even two cuttings a year, it will
serve a good purpose in producing milk. Every dairyman dependent more or
less on soiling food will find it to his advantage to grow alfalfa where
it may be grown in good form. When fed to milch cows, some meal added,
carbonaceous in character, as corn or non-saccharine sorghum seed, may
prove a paying investment, and it may also be advisable to alternate the
green alfalfa, morning or evening, with such other green crops as oats
and peas, millet, rape, corn or sorghum when in season, to provide
variety. But even though alfalfa alone should be thus made to supplement
the pastures, the outcome should be at least fairly satisfactory. When
fed to horses that are working, some care must be exercised in feeding
it, lest too lax a condition of the bowels should be induced, and a
grain factor should be fed at the same time. It has frequently been
given to sheep that were being fitted for show purposes, but may also be
fed green to the entire flock, with a view to supplement the pastures.
It has special adaptation for promoting large growth in lambs, and,
indeed, in any kind of young stock to which it may be fed. When fed to
swine, a small grain supplement properly chosen and fed will insure more
satisfactory growth. It is thought that more satisfactory results will
be obtained from allowing the alfalfa to get fairly well on toward the
blossoming stage before beginning to feed, and to continue to feed until
in full bloom. This in practice may not always be possible, but usually
an approximation to it may be reached, especially when the production of
the alfalfa will more than supply the needs in soiling food. The ideal
plan is to commence cutting the alfalfa as soon as a good growth is
made, cutting enough daily or every other day to supply the needs of the
animals. If the growth becomes too much advanced before the field is
gone over thus, the balance should be made into hay, and the cutting
should begin again where it began previously.

There is no question but that considerably more food can be obtained
from a given area when green alfalfa is fed in the soiling form, instead
of being grazed. The difference in such production would not be easy to
determine, but of the fact stated there cannot be any doubt. Ordinarily,
each cutting of green alfalfa for soiling should not produce less than 4
tons; hence, where 8 cuttings can be secured, not fewer than 32 tons of
soiling food could be obtained per season. But whether the increase from
soiling alfalfa, as compared with pasturing the same, would repay the
cost of the extra labor, will depend upon conditions that vary with time
and place. Alfalfa fields thus managed or cut for hay will also produce
for a longer period than when the fields are grazed.

Continuity in the production of soiling food may not be possible some
seasons in the absence of irrigation; hence, under such conditions
provision should always be made for a supply of such other soiling foods
as may be needed, and of a character that will make it practical to turn
them into dry fodder when not wanted as soiling food. But where
irrigating waters are unfailing, it is quite possible to furnish soiling
food from alfalfa soils through practically all the growing season.
Dairymen thus located are in a dairyman's paradise.

Alfalfa, like clover, may be made into silage. In dry climates this
would seem to be unnecessary, but in rainy climates it may be wise in
some instances to make alfalfa ensilage, the better to insure the curing
of the crop. What has been said with reference to clover ensilage will
apply almost equally to alfalfa. (See page 103.) It would be more
desirable, usually, to make the first cutting from alfalfa into ensilage
than later cuttings, because of the showery character of the weather at
that season, but the strong objection stands in the way of doing so,
that no carbonaceous food, as corn, sorghum or soy beans, is ready for
going into the silo then as they are later, with a view of aiding in the
better preservation of the ensilage and of making a better balanced
ration. Good alfalfa silage is more easily made when the alfalfa has
been run through a cutting-box than when in the uncut forms.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--The best time to harvest alfalfa for hay is just
after the blossoms begin to appear. Ordinarily, not more than one-third
of the blossoms are out when the harvesting should begin, but when the
hay is to be fed to horses the cutting may be deferred until more than
half the blooms are out. If cut earlier, the loss of weight in the crop
will be considerable, as much as 30 to 45 per cent., as compared with
cutting when in full bloom. If cut later, the stems become over-woody,
and the loss of leaves in curing will be much greater. When the cutting
is delayed beyond the period of early bloom, the growth of the next
cutting is retarded, and when it is deferred until some of the leaves
turn yellow or until some seed is formed, in many situations the
influence on the succeeding crop is seriously adverse, and in some
instances this influence would seem to react against the vigorous growth
of the plant during the remainder of the season. In other instances, as
where the conditions are quite favorable to the growth of the plant,
these results are not present in so marked a degree. When large areas of
alfalfa are to be harvested, the importance of beginning early cannot
easily be overestimated. It would be much better to sacrifice something
in loss of weight in the hay, through cutting too early, than to meet
with greater loss in weight in the next crop or crops by cutting too
long deferred.

Much that has been said about the harvesting of medium, red clover
will apply equally to alfalfa. (See page 95.) The mowing should begin as
soon as the dew has lifted in the morning. The tedder should follow
after the hay has wilted somewhat, and later, the horse rake, the aim
being to get the crop made into winrows, preferably small, before
nightfall, and when the weather is uncertain, the aim should be also to
put the hay up into small cocks the same evening. This may not always be
practicable. If the loss of leaves is likely to be considerable when
raking the hay, raking should be deferred until the influence of evening
dews begins to be felt. After the hay has become wilted it should not be
stirred or handled any more than is really necessary, that loss of
leaves and of the tips of the stems and branches may be avoided, and the
handling during the curing process should be done to the greatest extent
practicable before or after the sunshine has waxed strong. In showery
weather, when small areas are being harvested, hay caps can be used with
profit. Where large areas are to be harvested and where there is no
danger of rain, the crop when nicely wilted is drawn into winrows, and
in these the curing is completed without further stirring or handling.
From the winrows it is drawn usually on rakes of a certain make, and the
rake loads thus slid over the ground are lifted bodily onto the stack by
the use of the "rickers." (See page 100.)

[Illustration: Fig. 4. Field of Alfalfa in California]

=Storing.=--When cured in cocks, these are preferably made small to
facilitate quick curing, but usually from two to four days are necessary
to complete the curing. If the cocks require opening out before being
drawn, the work should be done with care. Ordinary stacking and storing
may be done in practically the same way as in handling medium red
clover, and the same care is necessary in protecting the stacks. In
areas where considerable rain falls in the autumn, hay sheds will prove
a great convenience in storing alfalfa in the absence of better
facilities. In the Eastern States alfalfa is sometimes stored in mows
undercured, by putting it into the mow in alternate layers with straw.
The straw not only aids in preserving the alfalfa in good condition, but
the alfalfa imparts an aroma to the straw which induces live stock to
eat it readily. In showery weather this method of curing alfalfa merits
careful attention where straw can be had near at hand and in sufficient
quantities.

The method is sometimes adopted of cutting alfalfa even for hay by using
the self-rake reaper. The sheaves thus made are allowed to lie on the
ground undisturbed until they are ready for being drawn. By this method
of cutting, the loss of leaves is almost entirely avoided, but there are
these objections to it: that it exposes unduly to sunlight during the
curing process, and in case of rain the sheaves are easily saturated and
do not dry readily unless turned over.

Rain falling on alfalfa will injure it quite as much as it does red
clover. (See page 96.) In climates with much rainfall in May or June,
when the first cutting of alfalfa is ready for being harvested,
according to locality, in instances not a few much difficulty is found
in curing alfalfa without loss. Sometimes the entire cutting will be
rendered practically useless by rain. Because of this, as previously
intimated, it may be well to arrange, where practicable, to cut the
first crop of the season for soiling food.

The number of cuttings during the year depends on such conditions as
relate to the length of the season, the character of the soil, the
abundance of moisture present, and the use to which the alfalfa is put.
In some of the river bottoms southward in the Rocky Mountains, where
irrigating waters are plentiful, it is claimed that alfalfa may be made
to furnish one cutting for soiling food every month in the year. Even in
the Northern western valleys, as many as five or six cuttings for the
use named may be obtained. North from the Ohio and Potomac rivers three
to five cuttings of soiling food may be looked for each season, and
south of these rivers even a larger number. North of the same rivers the
hay crops run from two to four, and southward from the same they are
seldom less than three. In the western valleys they range from three to
five or six, according to location. In States bordering on the semi-arid
States eastward and some distance south of the Canadian boundary, from
three to four cuttings may usually be expected. In Colorado and States
north and south from the same, two good crops of alfalfa may be cut from
spring-sown seed the same season, but where irrigation is not practiced
it is seldom that one crop of hay is harvested under similar conditions
of sowing. But in the semi-arid belt not more than one cutting is
usually obtained each season in the absence of water. But the number of
cuttings will be reduced when one of these is a seed crop. When a seed
crop is taken, the vitality of the plants is apparently so much reduced
for the season that the subsequent growth is much less vigorous than if
seed had not been thus taken.

The yield of hay from each cutting will, of course, vary much with
conditions, but it is seldom less than a ton. An approximate average
would place the average cutting at about 1-1/4 tons, but as much as 2
tons have been obtained per acre at a cutting, and, again, not more than
1/2 ton. In New Jersey an average of 4.57 tons per acre was obtained
under good conditions of management, but without irrigation, at the
experiment station for three years in succession. In Kansas, 4 to 6 tons
per acre may usually be expected from good soils. In Tulare County,
California, as much as 6 to 10 tons have been secured under irrigation.

The yields from the various cuttings are by no means uniform, especially
in the absence of irrigation. They are much influenced by rainfall. In
such areas, the second cutting is usually the best for the season, the
subsequent cuttings being considerably less. Where irrigation is
practiced, the crops are much more uniform, but even in mild climates,
as the season advances, there is a tendency to lesser yields, indicative
of the necessity of at least partial rest for plants during a portion of
the year. The yields of alfalfa are usually exceeded by those of no
other crop, where the conditions are quite favorable to its growth, even
in the absence of irrigation. At the New Jersey Experiment Station, as
stated in Bulletin No. 148, one acre of alfalfa produced 36,540 pounds
of green food; of corn, 24,000; of red clover, 14,000; of crimson
clover, 14,000; of millet, 16,000; of cow peas, 16,000; and of oats and
peas, 14,000 pounds. But where only two, or even three, cuttings can be
obtained per year, some crops may produce larger yields than alfalfa. In
the distinctive alfalfa belt in the West, no forage crop can be grown
that will compare with it in the yields obtained. The protein in alfalfa
is also relatively high. At the station quoted above it was found one
ton of alfalfa contained 265 pounds of protein; hence, its high relative
value as a food; red clover, 246 pounds; timothy, 118 pounds; and wheat
bran, 118 pounds. At the Delaware Experiment Station, in Bulletin No.
55, it is stated that maximum crops of cow peas and of crimson clover
gave 720 pounds of protein, while a maximum crop of alfalfa gave 1230
pounds.

Where alfalfa is irrigated, it is usual to apply irrigating waters just
after each cutting of the crop. It is a matter of some importance that
the water shall be applied at once as soon as the previous crop has been
harvested, otherwise time will be lost in growing the next crop. There
are instances where it is necessary to apply water before the first crop
is grown, but usually the moisture which falls in the winter and spring
will suffice to produce the first crop of the season. Some irrigators
apply water some time previous to harvesting the crop, but not so late
as to leave the ground in a soft condition when mowing is begun. The
amount of water required will vary with the soil, the season of the
year, the distance of the ground water from the surface, and the
precipitation. The more porous the soil and subsoil, the hotter the
weather, the less the precipitation and the farther below the surface,
up to a certain limit, the greater will be the amount of water needed.
There are situations, as in some of the islands in the Yellowstone
River, in which ground water is so near the surface that alfalfa grown
on these is able to get enough of water from this subterranean source to
produce good crops. Care should be taken not to apply water in excess of
the needs of the crop, or the yields will be proportionately reduced.
The amounts that will best serve the end sought can only be ascertained
by actual test. Caution is also necessary where the winters are cold not
to apply water late or in excessive quantities, lest a sappy condition
of the plants shall be induced, which will make them succumb to the cold
of the winter following. Moreover, on some soils alfalfa fields will
produce good crops, if irrigated only the first season, until the roots
get down to moisture, the irrigating waters being utilized when more
needed.

Alfalfa hay is fed freely to all kinds of domestic animals on the farm,
and with results that should prove highly satisfactory. Properly fed, it
is an excellent food for horses and mules. It not only serves to
maintain flesh, but it is favorable to glossiness in the coat. Horses
that are working hard should be accustomed to it gradually. When it is
fed to them too freely at the first, it induces too much of a laxity in
the bowels, too free urination, and profuse sweating. When fed to such
horses or mules, some authorities claim that several weeks should be
covered in getting them on to what is termed a "full feed" of alfalfa.
When fed to milch cows, free lactation results. Alfalfa fine in
character is now manufactured into food suitable for calves and other
young stock. Cattle and sheep are now fattened for slaughter on alfalfa
hay fed alone, but when thus fattened the finish made is not equal to
that resulting from adding grain to the alfalfa. To meet the needs of
the best markets, alfalfa alone does not produce enough of fat or of
firmness in the flesh, but it has been claimed, and probably it is true,
that one-half the amount of grain required for finishing along with
carbonaceous fodder, such as corn stalks or timothy, will give equally
good and quick increase when fed with alfalfa hay. It is most excellent
fodder on which to grow cattle and sheep, even in the absence of a grain
supplement. The later cuttings of the season are thought to be the most
suitable for calves and also for sheep and lambs, because of the greater
fineness of the fodder and the greater abundance of leaves on it.
Alfalfa hay is used with much advantage in wintering swine, especially
brood sows. Swine have been wintered on alfalfa hay without any grain
supplement where the winters are mild, but they will fare much better
with a grain supplement. It is thought that half the usual amount of
grain fed will produce equal results when fed with alfalfa, to those
obtained from feeding a full allowance of grain in its absence. Alfalfa
and sorghum properly grown make an excellent food for swine, and the two
may be profitably fed thus where the conditions may be over-dry for
corn, but not for sorghum. When feeding alfalfa, the aim should be to
use it in conjunction with a carbonaceous food, as corn. Fortunate is
the country which grows good crops of corn and alfalfa.

=Securing Seed.=--Localities differ much in their capacity to produce
alfalfa seed. The best crops of seed are now grown west and southwest of
the Mississippi River. Certain areas in the semi-arid country east of
and between the ranges of the Western mountains seem to have special
adaptation for growing seed. At the present time the greatest
seed-producing States are Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and
California. But in some areas east of that river paying crops can be
grown. It has also been noticed that when the crop is sown less thickly
than it is usually sown for hay, the plants seed more freely, when sown
with sufficient distance between the rows to admit of cultivating the
crop, and when such cultivation is given, the influence on seed
production is also markedly favorable; such treatment given to the
varieties of recent introduction may possibly result in the production
of seed from the same, notwithstanding that they bear seed very shyly
when grown in the ordinary way.

Nearly all the seed now grown in the United States is produced by fields
that have been sown in the usual way, and primarily to produce hay, but
in some areas, especially where irrigation is practiced, it is
sometimes grown mainly for seed. On the irrigated lands of the West it
is customary to grow the first cutting of the season for hay and the
second for seed. But in many instances the second cutting also is made
into hay, and the seed is taken from the third cutting; even in the
States east of the Mississippi, and also in Ontario and Quebec, seed is
usually taken from the second cutting. But in Montana, Washington and
Idaho, on the higher altitudes, seed is not unfrequently taken from the
first cutting for the season, since, in the short season for growth of
those uplands, seed from cuttings later than the first does not always
mature so well. In a large majority of instances seed does not form so
profusely from plants of the first cutting as from those of later
growths. This is thought to arise, in part, at least, from the fact that
bees, and it may be other insects, are then less active in searching for
food, and because of this do not aid in the fertilization of the plants
as they do later. Nor does seed of the first cutting ripen so evenly. An
important justification is also found for taking seed from the later
cuttings, in the fact that when a crop has produced seed, it grows less
vigorously during the subsequent period of growth that same season. So
pronounced is this habit of growth in alfalfa, that in many localities,
if the first growth is allowed to produce seed, but little subsequent
growth will be made again the same season. The second cutting, all
things considered, is the most favorable to seed production, as, unless
on irrigated lands, the third cutting is not usually possessed of that
vigor necessary to induce abundant seeding in the plants.

The yields of seed are also much influenced by moisture. An excess of
moisture is more unfavorable to the production of seed than a shortage
in the same. Hence, in areas where the rainfall for the season is very
abundant, but little seed will be produced. Where irrigation is
practiced, the excessive application of water would have a similar
effect, though less pronounced in degree; hence, the apportionment of
the water to the prospective needs of the seed crop calls for careful
adjustment. Where the first crop is grown for seed, where irrigation is
practiced, in many instances no water is applied until after the seed
crop has been harvested.

The seed is ready for being harvested when a majority of the seed-pods
assume a dark brown tint. The pods of later formation will still possess
a yellow tint, and some of them may still possess the green color. These
do not produce seed nearly equal in quality to the pods which ripen
earlier. To wait for all the later maturing pods to ripen before
harvesting the crop would mean the loss of much of the best seed through
shattering. Another test of maturity is made by shelling the pods in the
hand. When the seed can be thus shelled in a majority of the pods in a
single plant, it is ready for being harvested. Alfalfa seed shatters
easily; hence, it is important to harvest the seed crop with promptness
when it is ready, to handle it with due carefulness, and in some
instances to refrain from handling during the hottest hours of
sunshine.

The seed crop is sometimes cut with the mower and raked into winrows,
and in some instances put up into cocks. When it is handled thus, the
aim should be to do the work, as far as this may be practicable, in the
early and late hours of the day, but not, of course, while much dew is
on the crop. Sometimes the seed is drawn from the winrows to the
thresher; in other instances from the cocks, and in yet other instances
it is stacked before being threshed, a work that calls for the exercise
of much care in the storing of the crop, lest the seed should be injured
by heating in the stack. This method of harvesting is usually attended
with much loss of seed.

There is probably no better way of harvesting alfalfa than to cut it
with the self-rake reaper or the binder. The loose sheaves dry quickly,
and when lifted, the aim is to carry them directly to the thresher. Less
seed, it is considered, will be lost in this way than by the other mode
of harvesting given above, and the work is more expeditiously done. But
owing to the difficulty in securing a thresher to thresh the seed, it is
sometimes found necessary to stack the crop, but in areas where
irrigation is practiced such stacking is seldom necessary.

The seed is frequently threshed with the ordinary threshing machine, but
in many instances it is also threshed with a clover huller. The huller
does the work less quickly, but probably, on the whole, more perfectly.
Threshing machines, with or even without certain adjustments in the
arrangement of the teeth in the cylinder and concave, and with extra
screens, are now doing the work with much despatch, and with a fair
measure of satisfaction. But the opinion is held by competent judges
that a machine that would more completely combine the qualities of the
thresher and the huller would be still more satisfactory. It is easily
possible to have the crop too dry to thresh in the best condition, and
care should be taken to regulate the feed in threshing so that the
alfalfa will not enter the cylinder in bunches. More than 200 bushels of
seed have been threshed in a day from crops which yielded abundantly.
The seed should be carefully winnowed before putting it on the market.
The seed crops, as would naturally be expected, vary much; crops are
harvested which run all the way from 1 to 20 bushels per acre. From
irrigated lands the yields are, of course, much more uniform than from
unirrigated lands, since in the former the supply of moisture may be
controlled. Fair to good average yields on these may be stated at from 4
to 6 bushels, good yields at from 6 to 8 bushels per acre, and specially
good yields at from 10 to 12 bushels. The bushel weighs 60 pounds.
Growing alfalfa seed under irrigation has frequently proved very
profitable. The seed grown in such areas is larger and more attractive
to the eye than that ordinarily grown in the absence of irrigation, and
because of this many are lured into sowing it on unirrigated land when
the former would better serve their purpose. The seed is frequently
adulterated with that of yellow clover (_Medicago lupulina_), which
resembles it closely, but this is more likely to be true of imported
than of American grown seed.

=Renewing.=--Alfalfa may be renewed and also renovated where the stand
secured at the first has been insufficient, where it may have been
injured from various causes, where it is being crowded with weeds, and
even with useful grasses, and where the land requires enriching.

The stand of alfalfa secured is sometimes thin and uneven. This may
arise from such causes as sowing too little seed; whether over-dry or
through the crowding of the young plants. When this happens, in many
situations it is quite practicable to thicken the stand by disking the
ground more or less, adding fresh seed, according to the need of the
crop, and then covering the seed thus added with the harrow. Such
renovation would be comparatively easy on clean land, were it not for
fact that the alfalfa plants already rooted overshadow the young plants,
always to their injury, and sometimes to their total destruction. The
spring will probably be the best season to attempt such renovation, but
there may be instances where the winters are not severe, in which autumn
seeding will succeed as well or better than spring seeding. Because of
the uncertainty of the results of such renovation, the aim should be so
to prepare the land and sow the seed that a good, thick stand will be
secured at the first.

Should the alfalfa fields be spotted, because in places the nurse crop
lodged and smothered the plants, or because excessive moisture destroyed
them on the lower portions of the field in an abnormally wet season,
the renewing process is simple indeed. It consists in disking those
parts so thoroughly as to destroy all vegetation that may have become
rooted on them, and sowing seed in the usual way without a nurse crop.
But should the low places be such as to hold an excess of water at any
time of the year under normal conditions for days in succession, even
though it should not rise to the surface, the attempts to make alfalfa
grow successfully on these will prove abortive.

When weeds and grasses crowd the crop, the plan of disking the fields to
destroy these is becoming quite common, especially in the West. The work
is usually done in the early spring. In doing it, disk harrows are
driven over the field, usually two ways, the second disking being done
at right angles to the first. The disks are set at that angle which will
do the least injury to the plants, and that will at the same time do the
work effectively. This can only be determined by actual test in each
instance. Some of the crowns of the plants will be split open by the
disk, which some authorities claim is an advantage in that it tends to
an increase in the number of the stems produced, an opinion which is by
no means held in common at the present time, and yet there are
localities where it has certainly proved advantageous. Occasionally, a
plant will be cut off. There can be no doubt, however, that such
disking, when necessary, does tend to clean the land and also to
strengthen growth in the alfalfa crop, on the principle that cultivation
which does not seriously disturb growing plants is always helpful to
them. The frequency of such diskings will depend on the needs of the
crop. Some advocate disking every spring, some every other spring, and
some not at all. That plan which disks the ground only when it is
necessary to keep the weeds at bay would seem to be the most sensible.
This would mean that sometimes, as where crab grass has a firm hold,
disking may be necessary at least for a time every spring. In other
instances it would be necessary only every second or third season, and
in yet other instances not at all. However, some growers in dry areas
advocate disking frequently, as, for instance, after some of the
cuttings of the hay, and with a view to retain moisture. It is at least
questionable, however, if disking so frequently would not soon tend to
thin the plants too much, to say nothing of the labor while the work is
being done.

The idea of stirring the surface soil in alfalfa fields is by no means
new. In England the plan prevailed to some extent years ago of harrowing
the fields in the autumn with heavy harrows until, when the process was
completed, they would take on the appearance of the bare fallow for a
time. In the Eastern States and in some parts of Canada the harrow is
used instead of the disk, but usually the latter will do the work more
effectively and with less cost. Frequently, when the disk has been used
on alfalfa, it may also be advantageous to run a light harrow over the
ground to smoothen the surface.

With a view to renovate the crop and increase the yields, in some
sections, as in the Atlantic States, it has been recommended to
top-dress alfalfa fields with farmyard manure every autumn. This, no
doubt, would prove very effective, but it would also be very expensive,
unless in the neighborhood of large cities. It would be impracticable
without neglecting the needs of the other crops of the farm. In the
mountain areas of the West, it has been found that the cost of
fertilizing with farmyard manure is in the meantime greater than the
increased production in the alfalfa is worth, but it may not be always
thus, even on these rich lands. Some Eastern growers also apply more or
less gypsum. This is generally sown over the fields after the crop has
begun to grow in the spring.

Renovating alfalfa fields is much more easily and effectively done, as
would naturally be expected, in areas where conditions are highly
favorable to its growth than where these are only moderately favorable.
In some of the mountain valleys instances have occurred in which alfalfa
fields have been plowed and sown with oats, with a result, first that a
good crop of oats was reaped, and second, that fairly good crops of
alfalfa were harvested the following season without re-sowing the field.

=Sources of Injury to Alfalfa.=--Chief among the sources of injury to
alfalfa, after the plants have become established, are frost in
saturated ground, ice, floods, grasshoppers, gophers, dodder, and
pasturing by live stock in the late autumn or winter. When it happens
that two or three of these act in conjunction, the injury following is
just so much more rapid and complete. As has been intimated, where
water is excessive, in a climate which in winter or spring is
characterized by alternations of freezing and thawing, the plants will
either have the roots snapped asunder, or they will be gradually raised
out of the ground. This will only happen in soil with a subsoil more
retentive than is compatible with well-doing of the highest order in the
plants. The danger from this source is greatest during the first winter
after sowing the plants, as then the roots are not really established.
The only remedy for such a contingency is the draining of the land.

Some reference has also been made to injury done through ice, where it
collects in low places in land. The destructiveness of the ice depends
on its thickness and its nearness to the ground. When it rests upon the
ground for any considerable time the plants die. If, however, water
intervenes, the plants may live when the submergence is for a limited
time. One instance is on record in Onondaga County in New York State, in
which alfalfa survived submergence for a considerable period under a
thin sheet of water covered by three inches of ice, but when growth came
it was for a time less vigorous than normal.

Floods in warm weather are greatly injurious to alfalfa. The extent of
the injury done increases with increase of depth in the waters of
submergence, increase in stagnation in the waters, and increase in the
duration of the period of overflow. Stagnant water sooner loses its
dissolved nitrogen; hence, the plants cannot breathe normally. The harm
done, therefore, by floods in each case can only be known by waiting to
see the results. These summer floods always harm the crops temporarily,
and in many instances kill them outright. Occasional periods of overflow
should not prevent the sowing of alfalfa on such lands, since on these
it is usually not difficult to start a new crop, but the seed should not
be sown on such lands when overflow occurs at such a season. When it
occurs in cool weather and quickly subsides, it may be possible to grow
paying crops of alfalfa.

In some areas grasshoppers are a real scourge in alfalfa fields. Because
of the shade provided by the ground and the influence which this exerts
in softening it, they are encouraged to deposit their eggs and remain so
as to prove a source of trouble the following year. It has been found
that through disking of the land both ways after sharp frosts have come
is greatly effective in destroying the grasshopper eggs deposited in the
soil. They are thus exposed to the action of the subsequent frosts and
so perish. The disking has also tended to stimulate growth in the crop
the following year. The eggs will not, of course, be all destroyed by
such disking, but so large a percentage will, that the crop should be
practically protected from serious injury, unless when grasshoppers come
from elsewhere.

It would seem correct to say that gophers do more injury to alfalfa
fields in certain areas of the West than comes to them from all other
sources combined. They not only destroy the plants by feeding upon them,
but they fill the soil with mounds, which greatly interfere with the
harvesting of the crops. They are destroyed by giving them poisoned
food, trapping, shooting, and suffocating through the use of bisulphide
of carbon. Poison is frequently administered by soaking grain in
strychnine or dropping it on pieces of potato and putting the same in or
near the burrows. Bisulphide of carbon is put upon a rag or other
substance, which is put into the burrow and the opening closed.

Dodder is a parasitical plant introduced, probably, in seed from Europe,
which feeds upon alfalfa plants, to their destruction. The seeds of
alfalfa sometimes become so impregnated with the seeds of dodder that
the latter will grow where the seed is sown, thus introducing it to new
centers. The dodder starts in the soil and soon throws up its
golden-colored thread-like stems, which reach out and fasten on the
alfalfa plants that grow sufficiently near. The dodder then loses its
hold upon the soil and gets its food entirely from the alfalfa plants,
which it ultimately destroys. But since the seeds of the dodder remain
at least for a time in the soil, and the adjacent soil becomes infected
with them, the circles in which the dodder feeds continually widen. In
certain parts of New York State some fields have become so seriously
affected as to lead to investigations conducted through officials from
the State experiment station. Pending these investigations, the exercise
of great care in the purchase of seed and the immediate plowing of the
infested areas are recommended.

Some reference has already been made to injurious results from
pasturing close in the autumn or winter, except in the most favored
alfalfa regions. In addition to what has been already said, the wisdom
of not grazing alfalfa the first year is here emphasized, and also the
mistake of grazing at any time when the ground is frozen, at least in
areas east of and, generally speaking, adjacent to the Mississippi
River.

=Alfalfa as a Fertilizer.=--Alfalfa is not considered equal to medium
red clover as a direct means of fertilizing and otherwise improving the
land on which it grows. This does not arise from less inherent power on
the part of alfalfa to draw nitrogen from the air and deposit it in the
soil, but rather from the fact that clover establishes itself more
quickly, and is much more frequently grown in the rotation. Several
crops of medium red clover can be grown in short rotations, each one
being a source of much benefit to the crops that follow, while one crop
of alfalfa occupies the land. But when the alfalfa is all fed upon the
farm on which it grew, where the plants grow freely, it then becomes a
source of fertilization without a rival, probably, among plants grown
upon the farm.

The fertility thus furnished does not consist so much in the plant food
deposited in the soil directly as in that furnished in the successive
crops that are grown and fed every year. In Farmers' Bulletin No. 133,
published by the United States Department of Agriculture, it is stated
that the Wyoming Experiment Station found 44 pounds of nitrogen, 8.27
pounds of phosphoric acid, and 50.95 pounds of potash in one ton of
alfalfa. This would mean that in the yield of alfalfa hay from a given
area, estimated at four tons per acre for the season, alfalfa would
furnish 176 pounds of nitrogen, 33.08 pounds of phosphoric acid, and
203.8 pounds of potash. If this alfalfa were fed upon the farm, it would
not only prove a cheap source of protein for feeding, but it would
furnish fertility, as stated above, without seriously diminishing the
supply of the same in the surface soil, since much of the fertilizing
material produced would come from the air and subsoil. The manure thus
made, if carefully saved and applied, would thus add materially to the
fertility of the land. If, however, the alfalfa were sold, the mineral
matter drawn from the cultivable area of the soil and from the subsoil
lying under it would be reduced to the extent of the draft made upon
these in growing the alfalfa.

The direct influence of alfalfa upon the fertility of the land on which
it grows is shown in the greatly increased production in the crops which
follow alfalfa. This increase is not only marked, but it is frequently
discernible for several successive years. But as has been intimated, the
benefit that would otherwise accrue from growing alfalfa as a direct
means of fertilizing the land is much circumscribed by the long term of
years for which it is usually grown.

The mechanical effects of alfalfa upon the land are beneficent. It
improves the tilth by means of the shade furnished, and the extent to
which the roots fill the soil. These in their decay further influence
favorably that friability which is so desirable in soils that are
cultivated, and as previously stated, the long, deep roots in their
decay exercise a salutary influence on drainage.

The work of breaking alfalfa fields is frequently laborious, owing to
the number and size of the roots. If, however, a plow is used, the share
of which has a serrated edge, the roots will be cut or broken off more
easily and more effectively.



CHAPTER V

ALSIKE CLOVER


Alsike Clover (_Trifolium hybridum_) takes its name from a parish in the
south of Sweden. From there it is probable that it was introduced into
England. Linnæus gave it the name of _hybridum_, imagining it to be a
cross between the red and the white varieties. Botanists do not
generally hold this view. It is known by various names, as Swedish,
White Swedish, Alsace, Hybrid, Perennial Hybrid, Elegant and Pod Clover,
but more commonly in America it is spoken of as alsike.

The plants of this variety are more slender than those of the medium red
variety, although they grow in some instances to a greater height. The
slender stems are much branched. The leaves are numerous and oblong in
shape, the flowers are of a pinkish tint, the heads are globular and are
about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, and the pods, like those in
white clover, contain more than one seed. The roots are in no small
degree fibrous, and yet the slender tap root goes down to a considerable
distance.

Alsike clover is a perennial. In favorable situations it will live for
many years. Ordinarily, it grows to the height of 18 to 24 inches, but
in slough lands it sometimes grows to the height of 5 feet. The plants
do not reach their full size until the second year, and in some
instances until a period even later. They grow less rapidly than those
of medium red clover, are several weeks later coming into flower, and
grow much less vigorously in the autumn. Ordinarily, they furnish but
one cutting of hay each year. Because of the more fibrous character of
the root growth, the plants do not heave so readily as those of red
clover. In moist situations they are much given to lodge; hence, the
importance of growing this crop, when grown for hay, along with some
kind of grass that will help to keep the stems erect.

[Illustration: Fig. 5. Alsike Clover (_Trifolium hybridum_)
  Oregon Experiment Station]

Alsike clover furnishes a large amount of pasture. It is relished, at
least, fairly well. The leaves are slightly bitter, but not enough to
seriously interfere with their palatability. The quality of the hay is
excellent. This arises from its fineness, from the number of the small
branches and leaves on the stems, and from its fragrance when well
cured. While it makes a very suitable hay for horses and cattle, it has
peculiar adaptation for sheep, owing to its fineness.

As a fertilizer it is probably not equal to medium red clover, since the
root growth is not so bulky. Nor does it produce a second cutting
anything like so vigorous as the former. Nevertheless, the roots possess
even stiff soils to such an extent that they not only furnish them with
much plant food, but they also tend to disintegrate them and to render
them more easy to pulverize.

As a honey plant, alsike clover is without a rival among clovers, unless
it be in the small white variety. It is a great favorite with
bee-keepers. Many of them sow it to enable them to furnish pastures for
their bees. The bloom remains for a relatively long period. The honey is
also accessible to the common honey bee, since the branches are numerous
on the stems, and since each branch bears a head, the flower heads are
relatively quite numerous. Since the honey is accessible to the common
bee, pollination in the plants is assured; hence, the failures in the
seed crop are few, and when other conditions are favorable, seed
production is abundant. Because of the many good qualities of this
clover it is deservedly a favorite wherever it can be successfully
grown. When in full bloom, a field of alsike clover is a very beautiful
sight. The flowers are a pale white at first, but gradually they deepen
into a beautiful pink of tinted shades, and their fragrance is fully
equal to their beauty.

=Distribution.=--Alsike clover is found in Europe, Northern Africa and
Western Asia. In these it has been cultivated for a long time, but its
favorite home in the Old World would seem to be in Northern Europe. It
would doubtless be correct to say that it is indigenous to Europe, and
probably that it is indigenous to each of the three continents named. It
is not indigenous to America, but was introduced into the same probably
from Great Britain or Scandinavia. In some parts of North America it
grows with a luxuriance equal to, if not, indeed, greater, than that
shown by this plant when grown under the most favorable conditions
which Europe furnishes.

This plant is better adapted to a cool and humid climate than to one hot
and dry. It is even more hardy than medium red clover, in the sense of
enduring cold, and will live under conditions of climate so austere as
to be fatal to red clover. It may, therefore, be grown further north
than medium red clover, and under conditions so exposed as to cause
medium red clover to fail. But it does not succeed quite so well as the
former toward the southerly limit of the successful production of medium
red clover; hence, the limit of production in the semi-arid belt ceases
sooner than in the case of the other variety. The best climatic
conditions for growing it are found not far from the boundary line
between the United States and Canada, and in the vicinity of the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Great Lakes.

In the United States the best crops are grown in the States which border
on Canada, and in these the highest adaptation, climate and soil
considered, is found in Michigan, Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota.
But in New York the adaptation is also high, and also in certain parts
of Montana, Idaho and Washington. Good crops may also be grown in nearly
all the second tier of States that lie southward from the Canadian
boundary. The exceptions are those embraced in the semi-arid belt.
Further south than the second tier of States to which reference has just
been made, the successful growth of alsike generally lessens, and yet in
parts of these States, as, for instance, Kentucky, Tennessee and
Missouri, good crops are grown. Some of the Rocky Mountain valleys, more
especially those that can be irrigated, and that are also sufficiently
elevated, grow excellent crops of alsike. Much of the province of
Ontario has very high adaptation to the growth of alsike clover, and in
several counties of that province large quantities are grown, not only
for hay, but also for seed. In Ontario County in the said province, are
certain clay soils rich in lime; in fact, almost marley in character,
which have been found especially well adapted to growing alsike clover
seed, and in certain areas in proximity to the Georgian Bay, adaptation
exists about equally high. In some parts of Quebec good crops are also
grown. But this variety of clover has not been grown as yet with much
success in Manitoba, Assiniboia, Alberta or Saskatchewan. Both soil and
climate, however, in these provinces should not be uncongenial to it in
the main. In the cultivable lands of British Columbia, as in those of
Washington, it grows remarkably well. Especially in the river bottoms
and on the tide lands can immense crops be grown, as also on the tide
lands of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but not on the upland sandy
soils of these provinces.

=Soils.=--The most suitable soil for alsike clover is a moist clay loam,
not too friable nor too dense, and moist and deep. A goodly impregnation
of lime in the same is favorable to maximum production. Abundant
moisture conduces to the same end. This plant will, however, produce
good crops, and in a moist season, excellent crops, on the stiffest
clays, whether white or red, after a good stand has once been secured,
providing hard pan is not found near the surface, but in dry seasons it
is not easy to secure a stand on such soils. The plants send their
fibrous roots down into the soil in all directions, and in this way
render it much more friable when it is broken up.

Next in adaptation, probably, come slough soils, even though covered
with humus to a considerable depth, providing that clay lies under the
humus. Enormous crops of hay or pasture can be grown on such soils, but
the crops of seed are not usually so large as on the moist clays
referred to above. On these also the hay is much more liable to lodge,
unless supported by some kind of grass growing along with it.

After slough soils come those that have been deposited by the action of
water, as in river beds and on lake bottoms, when the waters have
subsided, providing the clay element so necessary to the successful
growth of this clover is plentifully present. In some instances the very
best crops of alsike can be grown on such lands, but in many other
instances these deposit soils have in them too much sand to produce
these.

Good crops can be grown on sandy loam soils, if well stored with
vegetable matter, and at the same time fairly well impregnated with
clay, but if one or both of these elements is lacking, adaptation in
these soils will be correspondingly reduced.

On the average upland prairie soil, alsike clover does not grow so
vigorously as the medium red. The less of density that these possess
under ordinary conditions, the less suitable are they to the needs of
this plant, but when ample moisture is present, good crops may be grown
on much of the soil in prairie areas.

Soils lowest in adaptation to the growth of alsike include infertile
sands and gravels, and the vegetable soils of the prairie so light that
when cultivated they lift more or less with the wind. On such soils the
growth of alsike is short and feeble, and any lack of moisture renders
it increasingly so.

This plant not only requires much moisture to insure the most vigorous
growth, but it is also able to thrive under conditions of soil
saturation such as some of the useful forage plants could not endure.
When the weather is cool, it may be covered with shallow water for
several days in succession without apparent injury. The possession of
this characteristic makes it possible to grow alsike clover in sloughs
not yet drained, but which are dry certain portions of the year.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Much of what has been said about the place for
medium red clover in the rotation may also apply to alsike clover. (See
page 70.) On upland soils its place in the rotation will be very similar
to that of the other variety, but with the difference that the rotations
will be longer, because of the perennial habit of growth in the alsike.
It will be best sown, therefore, on clean land which has produced a crop
that has been cultivated the previous year. Consequently, it may follow
such crops as corn, potatoes, field roots and beans in the North, and
the same crops in the South, with the addition of cow peas, soy beans
and the non-saccharine sorghums. But it may be sown after other crops
when necessary, especially when it is to be pastured. One chief
objection to sowing it thus for hay is that the hay will be less free
from weeds.

On upland this crop may be followed with any kind of a crop requiring
much nitrogen. No crops can be made to follow it with more advantage,
however, than corn and the sorghums, or potatoes. Rape will feed
ravenously on the overturned sod, and wheat and the other small grains
will also feed similarly.

On low lands, especially when they partake of the nature of sloughs, the
rotation is different. In some instances alsike may follow the natural
grasses produced by the slough in the drained or undrained form, as the
case may be, and may be made to supersede them without breaking the
land, but more commonly on these it is sown after the natural sod has
been broken and has decayed somewhat, by growing on it some such crop as
rape or flax. On these lands it is usually grown in long rotations for
pasture and also for hay, and when the sod is again plowed, it is
followed by corn, potatoes, rape, and grains grown for soiling uses,
since such land has naturally high adaptation for these. Flax also is a
favorite crop to sow in such situations after alsike clover.

=Preparing the Soil.=--The preparation of the land for alsike clover on
ordinary soils is the same as for medium red clover. (See page 74.)
Usually, that degree of fineness in the pulverization which best
prepares the soil for the nurse crop with which alsike clover is sown,
will also best prepare it for the alsike. But there may be some
instances, as in strong clays, when a fine pulverization that would
suffice for the needs of the nurse crop would be advantageous to the
alsike. This finer pulverization can only be secured by the judicious
use of the roller and the harrow. In loose-lying soils, more especially
in areas where the precipitation in winter comes in the form of snow,
and, therefore, does not wash the land as it does when it falls as rain,
if the land on which alsike is to be sown is plowed in the fall, and
only harrowed in the spring, or cultivated and harrowed when preparing
it, the moisture will be better conserved than if it were plowed in the
spring. When thus managed, strong clays in the area under consideration
will usually have a much finer pulverization than can be obtained from
spring plowing. When the preceding crop has been given clean
cultivation, to plow land subsequently before sowing to alsike would
bring up many weed seeds to the surface, where they would at once begin
to grow. On slough lands, where water saturation is present during a
portion of the year, even to the extent of appearing for a short
interval over more or less of the surface, the seed may be sown without
any previous preparation of the land, and in some instances
successfully. In other instances it will fail should the following
summer prove adverse. The stand is rendered much more certain in such
instances by first burning off the grass, sowing the seed upon it,
covering it more or less with the harrow and running the mower over the
ground, say, twice in the season, to let in sunlight to the young
plants. The grass thus mown may be left as a mulch. Pasturing, but not
too early in the season, will in some instances give results equally
good. In such situations the sowing should be done, and also the
harrowing, before the frost has left the ground, except for a short
distance from the surface, or the horses may sink too deeply when doing
the work. The success is dependent in no small degree on the denseness
or want of denseness of the root growth of the grass plants already
covering the soil. The more dense these are, the less easy is it to
obtain a stand, and the more peaty the soil immediately underneath the
surface, the greater is the danger that the young plants will perish in
a time of drought.

When alsike seed is sown on drained sloughs, the aim should be to reduce
the excess of coarse vegetable matter, if present, and to secure a
smooth surface, such as will facilitate the easy mowing of the crop.
More especially should this be the aim if the alsike is sown to produce
hay. This can be most easily and speedily done by growing on it some
reducing crop, as flax or rape, and then smoothing the surface by
implements best suited to such work, as, for instance, some form of plow
leveler.

=Sowing.=--The time at which alsike clover may best be sown is the same
as that for sowing the medium red variety; that is to say, the early
spring. (See page 75.) Since it is hardier than the medium red variety,
the danger is less that spring frosts will destroy the plants after they
begin to grow. As with medium red clover, it may also be sown at sundry
times, from the opening of spring until the late summer when the
opportunity offers, and when the conditions for growth are favorable.
For instance, there may be seasons when alsike clover, and, indeed, any
kind of clover, will succeed along with a catch crop sown for pasture or
to provide soiling food. But it should not be sown in the autumn unless
where the winters are mild, or the young plants will not survive their
rigors.

Alsike clover is more commonly sown with a nurse crop. As with medium
red, the crops with which it may be best sown are the small cereal
grains, as winter rye, barley, wheat and oats, favorable in the order
named. But it may also be sown with flax, with rape, and with grain
crops that are to be cut for soiling or to be grazed down.

The method of sowing alsike clover is virtually the same as that
followed in sowing medium red clover (see page 78); that is to say, it
may be sown by hand machines, with a grass-seeder attachment to the
grain drill, or with the ordinary tubes of the grain drill and along
with the grain. The seed is very small, and, consequently, may not admit
of being buried so deeply as medium red clover, but in the open soils of
the prairie it will sometimes succeed as well sown along with the grain
as when buried less deeply, but in many soils the roller will provide a
sufficient covering. Especially is this true in climates that are moist.

Alsike clover has special adaptation for being sown along with timothy
and red top on slough soils, and soils made up of rich deposit. It
matures about the same time as these grasses. They support the slender
stems of the alsike, and in doing so prevent lodging more or less. This
greatly improves the quality of the hay. The more numerous the plants in
those mixtures, the finer also will be the quality of the hay. If but
two varieties are wanted in the mixture, ordinarily these two should be
alsike clover and timothy. Both furnish hay of excellent quality; hence,
when the proportion of alsike is not too large, such hay sells readily
to dairymen who have to purchase fodder.

Although this clover does not mature until three to four weeks later
than the medium red, nevertheless, it may be well to add the latter to
the timothy and alsike clover mixture. When these are thus sown in due
balance, the first cutting will be mainly red clover, after which there
will be but little of the red present. But the medium red clover will
add much to the pasture after the first cutting for hay. Subsequently,
the hay crop will usually consist of alsike and timothy. Alsike clover
along with timothy may also be sown with mammoth clover, since the two
mature about the same time. But the mammoth variety will monopolize the
ground while the first hay crop is being produced. The advantage from
sowing the seed thus lies chiefly in prolonging the period of clover
production along with timothy grown chiefly for hay. It is not wise,
usually, to sow alsike clover alone for hay, owing to its tendency to
lodge. In the South it is frequently sown with red top and orchard
grass, especially the latter. It fills in the spaces between the plants
in the orchard grass, and in so doing adds much to the hay or to the
pasture.

There may be conditions in which it would be advisable to sow alsike
clover alone, as when it is wanted for seed, and subsequently for
pasture. But ordinarily to provide pasture, it is better to sow it along
with some other grass or clover, or with a number of these. It greatly
improves a timothy pasture in the upland or in the valley. It has also
been used with much advantage in strengthening alfalfa pastures for
horses in winter in certain of the Rocky Mountain valleys. It would
probably be correct to say that with the area of adaptation for this
plant, no kind of pasture can be grown on reasonably moist land that
would not be benefited by having alsike in it. Among the clovers it has,
relatively, high adaptation for permanent pastures, because of its
enduring character.

The seeds of alsike clover are small. They are considered to be less
than half the size of those of medium red clover, consequently, the
amounts of seed are relatively much less. When alsike clover is sown
alone and for seed, from 3 to 5 pounds of seed should suffice per acre,
according to the soil conditions. Four pounds are frequently sown. In
the various mixtures given above, the amounts of seed will vary with
local and other conditions, but the following amounts may be given as
averages: Alsike and timothy, 4 and 6 pounds, respectively, per acre;
alsike, timothy and red top, 3, 4 and 3 pounds; alsike, timothy and red
clover, 3, 4 and 3 pounds; alsike, timothy and mammoth clover, 3, 4 and
3 pounds. When sown with other grasses for pasture, it would not be
possible to give the amounts to sow that would best meet the needs of
the grower under all conditions. But it may be said that 1 to 2 pounds
of alsike seed per acre, sown under almost any circumstances in moist
soils and within the alsike clover area, will be a good investment when
laying down pastures of any considerable permanency.

This clover is also sometimes added to the seed sown in making lawns,
more especially on farms where the lawn cannot be given that close
attention which is necessary to keep it in the most presentable form.
Because of its permanence, it is helpful in giving variety to the sward,
and when mown but two or three times in the season, as is frequently the
case with such lawns, it provides considerable bloom in the same, which
is very attractive. The amount of seed to use on these lawns may vary to
suit the desires of the owner. It is not usual, however, to sow in these
more than maximum amounts for field crops. At the rate of 3 to 4 pounds
of seed per acre should be ample.

=Pasturing.=--Alsike clover has by some authorities been assigned to a
high place as a pasture plant. For such a use it has no little merit,
but in the judgment of the author it is not nearly equal to medium red
clover as a pasture plant, under average conditions, since it does not
grow so well, relatively, on average upland soils, and because the
aftermath is usually light, after the crop has been cut for hay or for
seed. Nor is it thought to be relished quite as highly by stock as the
medium red clover. Nevertheless, domestic animals eat it freely, and
under suitable conditions it will furnish for them a considerable amount
of grazing. This feature has been finely illustrated by an experiment in
grazing conducted at the Agricultural Experiment Station of Montana, on
irrigated land, at Bozeman, in the Gallatin valley. Full particulars
relating to this unique experiment are given in Bulletin No. 31, issued
by the afore-mentioned station. In the summer of 1900, 18 cattle, one
and two years old, were pastured on 5.04 acres of alsike clover for 102
days, beginning with June 9th. The increase in the weight obtained from
the pasture in the time stated was 4560 pounds. This gain was valued at
the very moderate price of 4 cents per pound live weight; hence, the net
return per acre for the pasture for the season was $36.19. It would
scarcely be possible under any conditions, howsoever favorable, to
obtain such results without irrigation.

Ordinarily, the results from pasturing alsike clover will be more
satisfactory when one or two other plants are grown along with it, as,
for instance, medium red clover or medium red clover and orchard grass,
since both of these plants tend to prolong the period of grazing. In
slough lands, red top and timothy add considerably to the value of the
grazing. When grazing alsike clover, much more pasture will be obtained
if it can be allowed to make a good start in the spring, and if it is
then kept grazed so short that the plants do not come into flower. Such
treatment tends very much to prolong the period of grazing for the
season. Should the grazing be so uneven as to admit of certain areas in
the pasture pushing on into the flower stage, the mower may sometimes be
profitably used to prevent such a result. Weeds should also be kept from
going to seed in the pastures by using the mower or the scythe, or both.
Nor should the fact be lost sight of that the tendency to produce bloat
in alsike clover is much the same as in medium red clover.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Alsike clover is ready to harvest for hay when
the plants are just beginning to pass beyond the meridian of full bloom.
Some of the first blossoms will then have turned brown and some of the
smaller ones will still be deepening their tints, since the season of
bloom is about the same as for timothy, and since alsike for hay is more
commonly grown with timothy than with any other grass, both may be cut
when at their best, especially when intended for cows and sheep. But
when the hay is intended for horses, it should stand a few days longer
than the stage indicated above, in order to have the timothy in the
condition best suited to feeding horses. But the alsike, in the
meantime, would lose something in digestibility.

If grown alone for hay, the process of harvesting would be much the same
as in harvesting medium red clover. (See page 95.) But since the stems
of alsike clover are finer than those of the medium red, less time will
suffice for curing it. It will also cure more quickly along with some
other grass than if alone, since it does not then lie so closely in the
winrow or in the cock. Grasses, as a rule, cure more quickly than
clovers, and this also has a bearing on hastening curing in clover when
the two are grown together; and also in lessening the degree of the
fermentation after the crop has been stored. Ordinarily, when the
weather is bright, alsike clover along with timothy may be cut in the
forenoon, tedded once or twice soon after cutting, raked into small
winrows the same evening and stored away the following afternoon. When
thus managed, the hay loader may be used in lifting the hay from the
winrows. Alsike clover growing alone could not be cured thus quickly.
Nor would it be wise in showery weather to try and cure the crop without
putting it into cocks, whether grown alone or with some other crop. When
properly cured, the heads retain much of their bloom and the stems much
of their greenness.

The yields of hay vary greatly with the soil. On dry, sandy uplands the
yields of cured hay may not exceed 1/2 ton, while on rich loam soils it
may exceed 3 tons. Ordinarily, on good soils a combined crop of alsike
clover should yield from 1-1/2 to 2 tons per acre of very excellent hay.
Some authorities speak of getting two cuttings per year, but this is not
usual. Under quite favorable conditions it would be possible to get two
cuttings for soiling uses, providing the first was taken when the plants
were coming into bloom. Usually, the growth of the aftermath, when the
hay has been removed, is very moderate.

=Securing Seed.=--Alsike is a great producer of seed. This arises in
part from the relatively large number of the heads on the plants, and in
part from the completeness of the pollinations, through the action of
the honey bee. These are relatively much more numerous than the bumble
bees, which alone among bees, it has been claimed, aid in the
pollination of medium red and mammoth clover. Although the seeds are
considerably less than half the size of those of medium red clover, as
much as 8 bushels of seed have been secured from an acre. Frequently,
however, the yields are less than 2 bushels. Good average yields may be
stated as running from 3 to 4 bushels per acre. The best yields are
usually obtained from the first crop, but under favorable conditions
this clover may be cut for seed for two and even three years in
succession. Better yields are usually obtained from crops of medium
vigor than from those of excessive rankness. The latter lodge to such an
extent as to reduce materially the yields of the seed, since the heads
do not fill well. The cost of harvesting and threshing such crops is
also greater, relatively, than of those of medium growth. To prevent
such excessive growth in the seed crop, pasturing for a time is
frequently resorted to. The grazing should begin reasonably early in the
season before growth anywhere becomes so rank that the animals do not
eat it in certain portions of the field, whereas, at the same time, they
graze other portions of the field too closely. Rather close grazing,
from the time that grazing begins, is preferable to grazing that leaves
the crop uneven. When certain portions of the field are left ungrazed,
or only partially grazed, the mower should be run over such portions
about the time that the grazing ceases. If this is done a few days
before the removal of the stock, they will eat much of the clover thus
mown. Unless the mower is thus used, under such conditions the seed will
ripen unevenly in the grazed and ungrazed portions of the same.

The duration of the grazing is much dependent on the soil and the
season. The more moist and rich the soil and the more moist the season,
the more prolonged should the grazing be. In Northern areas it seldom
begins earlier than May 1st, and seldom extends beyond June 1st. If
prolonged unduly and dry weather follows, the growth of the plants will
not be enough to produce average crops of seed. Quite frequently on
upland soils, the grazing should cease before the end of May.

Either cattle or sheep, or both, may be used in the grazing. Cattle do
not graze quite so closely as sheep, which is so far favorable to
subsequent growth. But sheep will glean weeds to a much greater extent
than cattle. When the field is made to carry so much stock that the
grazing is quickly and thoroughly done, the results are usually more
satisfactory than when the opposite method is practiced.

It is important that weeds shall be prevented from maturing seeds in the
clover. To prevent this, it may be necessary to run the mower over the
whole field at the close of the grazing season. In crops that are not
grazed, it may be necessary to use the scythe in clipping back weeds and
in cutting off any stray heads of timothy that may be pushing up toward
maturity. In some instances it may even be found profitable to use the
spud in destroying weeds of more dwarfish growth than those which can be
clipped with the scythe. It is more important, relatively, that weeds
shall be thus dealt with in growing alsike clover than in growing clover
of the larger varieties, since, owing to the small size of the seeds of
alsike, it is more difficult to remove foul seeds with the winnowing
mill. No kind of seed, probably, is more difficult to separate from
alsike seed than timothy; hence, when the former is grown for market,
these plants should not be grown together. If, perchance, they should be
so grown and the crop cut for seed, it would be well not to try to
separate the seeds, but to sow them thus, as even when thus mixed the
seed has a considerable market value.

The crop is ready for being harvested when nearly all the heads are
fully matured. The bloom will then have left them and they will be
characterized by a reddish cast. The earlier heads will have turned a
dark color, almost black. Some bloom may yet linger on the later and
smaller heads, but harvesting should not be delayed until these mature.

The seed crop can best be cut with the self-rake reaper, which throws
off the sheaves unbound. If cut with the grain binder, the sheaves
should not be bound. A sort of box attachment may be fastened to the
cutter-bar of the mower, which will enable the workmen to leave the hay
in sheaves, but to do this an additional hand is wanted to rake or pitch
off the sheaves. The sheaves should be laid off in rows, and by system,
rather than at random, for convenience in storing.

Usually, the sheaves are not disturbed until ready for being stored, but
in case of very heavy rain it may be necessary to turn the sheaves, to
prevent the seeds which come in contact with the ground from sprouting.
The sheaves should be carefully lifted, otherwise many of the heads will
break off and be lost. Because of this, it may be wise, frequently, to
refrain from lifting the sheaves for loading in the middle of the day.
Large forks, which may be run under the bunches, are more suitable than
ordinary forks.

When absolutely necessary, the seed crop may be harvested with the field
mower, as ordinarily used, but when it is thus harvested, the crop
should be cut with all promptness as soon as it is ready. It must then
be raked into winrows and lifted as hay is usually lifted. All the work
of harvesting should be done in those portions of the day when the heads
will break off less freely, and when at the same time the dew is not
resting on the seed plants in any considerable degree. When, however, a
crop of alsike is thus harvested for seed, many heads will break off,
howsoever careful the workmen may be.

The seed may be threshed at once or stored. Storing under a roof is
preferable to storing in the stack, but the latter method will suffice,
if the tops of the stacks are well protected with a covering of marsh
hay or of some other suitable material. When the seed is not threshed at
once it is usual to defer threshing until cold weather, as with medium
red clover, as then the seed is much more easily removed from the seed
pod. Ordinarily, the work can best be done by clover hullers, the same
as are used in threshing medium red and mammoth clover, but grain
separators, with certain attachments, will now do this work in good
form. Much care should be exercised in winnowing the seed. It ought to
be so cleaned that it will grade as No. 1, and so bring the highest
current price. Due care in this matter will make the major part of even
ordinary seed bring the best price.

=Renewing.=--When the stand of the alsike is but partial, as, for
instance, when young plants have failed, or partially so, on the high
land, and are sufficiently plentiful on the lower land, a full stand may
sometimes be secured by simply scattering seed where it is needed so
late in the fall that it will not sprout before winter, covering with
the harrow and then top dressing with farmyard manure well decomposed.
But where the winters are so mild that the clover might be sprouted
during some warm spell followed by severe weather, the seed should not
be sown then.

On certain soils, as those naturally moist and porous, it may be
possible so to renew alsike clover that it will produce hay or pasture
crops almost indefinitely, by simply allowing some heads to seed every
year and fall to the ground. In meadows, this may be done by not
grazing after the hay has been harvested until other heads have formed
and ripened. A limited number of these will thus form after the crop has
been mown for hay. If the crop has been cut for seed, many heads will in
any event be left upon the ground. The same result will follow when
grazing the crop, if grazing is made to cease at the right time, and for
a period long enough to allow a considerable number of heads to mature.
This method of renewal will not prove a complete success on all soils,
as, for instance, on those very stiff and very light.

Natural meadows that lie low may be changed in whole or in part into
alsike meadows or pastures in some of the States, as has been previously
intimated, by sowing seed on them in the early spring. (See page 202.)
In some instances such change has been effected by sowing seed but once,
and at the rate of from 3 to 4 pounds per acre. In other instances it
has been found preferable to sow a less quantity for two successive
seasons, lest one of the two should prove adverse to successful growth
in the plants. But on some slough soils a stand cannot be secured by
this method of sowing, more especially when they are composed of raw
peat.



CHAPTER VI

MAMMOTH CLOVER


Mammoth Clover (_Trifolium magnum_) was long ago named _Trifolium
medium_ by Linnæus. However appropriate the designation may have been at
the time, it is not so now, at least under American conditions, as in
this country there is no other variety of clover so large, unless sweet
clover (_Melilotus alba_). To apply to it the distinguishing term
medium, therefore, is positively misleading, since the smaller variety
of red clover commonly grown occupies such middle ground, as the term
medium would indicate. Because of this, the author has ventured to
designate it _Trifolium magnum_. It has also been classified, and with
no little appropriateness, _Trifolium pratense perenne_, which has
reference to the mildly perennial habit of growth in this plant. In
common phrase it is known by such names as Large, Tall, Saplin or
Sapling, Giant, Meadow, Perennial Red, Red Perennial Meadow, Pea Vine,
Zigzag, Wavy Stemmed, Soiling, and Cow clover or Cow grass. Each of
these names has reference to some peculiarity of growth in the plant.
For instance, the terms Large, Tall, Saplin and Giant have reference to
the size of the plant; and the terms Pea Vine, Zigzag and Wavy Stemmed
to the somewhat irregular and trailing habit of growth in the stems,
and so of the others. The designation Cow grass is an English term.

Mammoth clover is a large variety of red clover; in fact, the largest
variety of red clover in America. The plants are strong, stronger than
those of the medium red variety, and the stems are much larger. They are
softer than those of the medium red, which to some extent may account
for the less erect habit of growth which characterizes it. The leaves
are usually destitute of the white spot found on those of the other
variety. The heads are also probably larger and somewhat more open, but
there is no appreciable difference in the size of the seed. The plants,
notwithstanding, bear so much resemblance to those of the common red
variety that it is not easy to distinguish them unless by the large size
of the plants of the former. The roots are larger and stronger than
those of the medium red variety, and as a result have more power to
gather plant food in the soil.

Mammoth clover is biennial under some conditions and under others it is
perennial, although it is not usually a long-lived perennial. It has a
stronger habit of growth than the medium red, and is, therefore, rather
better fitted to thrive under adverse conditions, more especially when
it has once obtained a hold upon the soil. It grows chiefly in the first
half of the season, and makes but little growth, relatively, in the
autumn, or, indeed, any time the same season after the crop has been
harvested for hay. In the Northern States it comes into flower about
the middle of July, and in those of the South correspondingly earlier.

It is relished by all kinds of domestic animals kept upon the farm, but
the hay is relatively better adapted to cows and other cattle than to
horses and sheep. If cut too late, or much injured in the curing, it is
too dusty for horses, and the growth is too coarse to make first-class
hay for sheep. It makes excellent soiling food, because of the abundance
of the growth and the considerable season during which it may be fed in
the green form.

It is peculiarly valuable as a fertilizer and as an improver of soils.
In addition to the nitrogen which it draws from the air and deposits in
the soil, it brings up plant food from the subsoil and stores it in the
leaves and stems, so that when fed it can be returned to the land. It
also fills the soil with an abundance of roots and rootlets. These
render stiff soils more friable, and sandy soils less porous; they
increase the power of all soils to hold moisture, and in their decay
yield up a supply of plant food already prepared for the crops that are
next grown upon the ground.

Mammoth clover may also be utilized with advantage in lessening the
numbers of certain noxious weeds, and in some instances of eradicating
them altogether. This it does in some instances by smothering them,
through the rankness of the growth. In other instances it is brought
about through the setback which is given to the weeds by first pasturing
the crop and then cutting it later for seed.

=Distribution.=--Mammoth clover has long been grown in several of the
countries of Europe and Western Asia. It is also grown in certain parts
of Siberia. It was doubtless introduced into the United States from
Europe by emigrants from that continent, but when exactly is not known.
It has probably been many years since its introduction into America, but
it is only within the more recent of the decades that it has attracted
general notice. In some areas in this country it grows with great
luxuriance, fully equaling, if not exceeding, the crops grown in any
part of Europe.

Mammoth clover calls for climatic conditions about the same as those for
medium red clover. (See page 61.) It flourishes best in moist climates
of moderate temperature, and it will endure more drought than the medium
red variety and possibly more cold.

The distribution of mammoth clover covers nearly all the States of the
Union, but as with medium red clover the adaptation for it is relatively
higher in the Northern than in the Southern States of the Union. The
highest adaptation for mammoth clover is probably found in certain parts
of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the northern valleys of the Rocky
Mountain States, the elevated portions of those further south and the
country around Puget Sound. The adaptation is also high in much of New
York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. In
the Southern States that lie northward, good crops may be grown in some
locations, but not in all. As the semi-arid belt is approached, mammoth
clover will grow further west than the medium red, but in the greater
portion of this region it will not succeed. The adaptation of the North
Atlantic States, including those of New England, is not of a high order,
but rather more so, probably, than for the medium red.

In Canada also the adaptation of medium and mammoth clover is much the
same as for the medium red. In some parts of Ontario, especially Western
Ontario, it grows remarkably well; but in the maritime provinces it does
not grow so well; nor does it thrive in the provinces of the Canadian
Northwest as it does in Ontario.

As with medium red clover, the distribution of this variety has not been
fully determined in either the United States or Canada, more especially
on soils of the prairie, where it does not succeed well at present. It
is probable that under some conditions on these soils, and also in the
South, the absence of the requisite bacteria in the soil may account, in
part, at least, for failure in attempts made to grow it. With the
introduction of these, the area of successful cultivation may be
considerably extended.

=Soils.=--Mammoth clover may usually be successfully grown in soils well
adapted to the growth of the medium red variety. (See page 65.) This
means that it will usually grow with much luxuriance in all areas which
produce hardwood timber, and are usually covered with a clay or muddy
loam soil underlaid with clay. It will also grow with great luxuriance
in the volcanic ash soils of the irrigated valley lands of the Rocky
Mountain States, and in the loam and light loam soils of the Puget
Sound country. It has greater power than the common red variety to grow
in stiff clays, in sandy soils underlaid with clay, and in areas where
moisture is insufficient near the surface soil. In stiff clays the roots
penetrate to a greater distance than those of the medium red variety and
gather more food. Consequently, a stiff clay soil that would only
furnish a light crop of the medium red variety in a dry season may
furnish an excellent crop of the mammoth. The quality of the hay is
likely to be superior to that grown on soils altogether congenial, since
it is not likely to be over-rank or coarse.

On sandy soils underlaid with clay, and especially where the clay is
some distance from the surface, this clover is more certain to make a
stand, since the vigor of the plants enables them to gather food until
the roots go down into the clay.

In areas where the moisture is more or less deficient, the other
conditions being favorable, this clover can send its roots down into the
subsoil, where moisture is more abundant than on the surface. Because of
this power, it is better adapted than the medium red to much of the area
of Southwestern Minnesota, Western Iowa, Western Kansas and Nebraska,
and, in fact, much of the area bordering on the semi-arid country.

On clay soils that are so saturated with water that in the winter or
spring the clover is much liable to heave, there is conflict in opinion
as to whether the mammoth or the common red variety will heave the more
readily, but the preponderance of the evidence favors the view that the
roots of the mammoth variety can better resist such influences than
those of the common red.

This clover, like the common red, is not well adapted to hungry, sandy
soils, to the blow soils of the prairie, to the muck soils of the watery
slough, or to the peaty soils of the drained muskeg.

=Place in the Rotation.=--The place for mammoth clover in the rotation
is much the same as for the medium red variety. (See page 70.) It may,
therefore, be best sown on a clean soil; that is to say, on a soil which
has grown a crop the previous season that has called for clean
cultivation, as, for instance, corn, potatoes, sorghum, or one or the
other of the non-saccharine sorghums, field beans, soy beans, cow peas
and field roots. But it is not so necessary that it shall be made to
follow either kind of beans or cow peas as the other crops named, since
these have already gathered nitrogen, which is more needed by leguminous
crops. This clover should rather be grown in rotations where more
nitrogen is wanted, when the soil will profit by increased supplies of
humus, and where strong plants are wanted, the root growth of which will
have the effect of rendering the cultivated portion of the soil more
friable when stiff and more retentive when sandy, and that will have the
effect of opening up many little channels in the subsoil when the roots
decay, through which an excess of surface water may percolate into the
subsoil. It may precede such crops as revel in humus and that feed
ravenously on nitrogen. These include all the small cereals, corn and
all the sorghums, rape, and all kinds of garden vegetables and
strawberries. It is, of course, better adapted to short than to long
rotations, because of the limited duration of the life of the plants.

The length of the rotation will, of course, depend upon various
contingencies. Frequently, the clover is cropped or pastured but one
season following the year on which the seed was sown, whatsoever the
character of the crops that precede or follow it, but in more instances,
probably, it is used as crop or pasture for two years. When timothy is
sown along with this clover the pasturing or cropping may continue for
one or more seasons longer before the ground is broken, but in such
instances the timothy will have consumed much or all of the nitrogen put
into the soil by the clover, save what has escaped in the drainage
water. One of the best rotations in which to sow mammoth clover, as also
the medium red, is the following: Sow in a nurse crop of rye, wheat,
oats or barley, as the case may be, in order that it may be pastured or
cut for hay the following season, and then follow with a crop of corn or
potatoes. This in turn is followed by one or another of the small
grains. This constitutes a three years' rotation, but in the case of
mammoth clover it is frequently lengthened to four years. The year
following the sowing of the clover, it is cut for hay or for seed, and
the next year it is pastured with or without a top-dressing of farmyard
manure. This rotation meets with considerable favor in certain areas of
Wisconsin, well adapted to the growth of the plant.

=Preparing the Soil.=--The preparation of the soil called for by the
mammoth clover is virtually the same as that required when preparing a
seed-bed for the medium red variety. (See page 74.) Clay loam soils,
whatsoever their color, cannot easily be made too fine and smooth, and
the same is true of sandy loams. Stiff clays should be made so fine as
to contain ample loose mold to germinate the seed readily, and yet they
ought not to be made so fine that they will readily run together under
the influence of a soaking rain. Usually, such soils are seldom made too
fine, but sometimes they are. The aim should be to firm sandy soils,
especially when light enough to lift with the wind, and to leave them
more or less uneven on the surface when the seed is sown.

In many States the ground should be plowed in the fall for spring
sowing, and in yet others it should be plowed in the spring. Conditions
of soil and climate govern this feature of the work. Usually, however,
the longer the soil is plowed and then properly worked on the surface
before receiving the seed, the finer, cleaner, firmer and moister it is
likely to be, and the larger the store of the available fertility to
promote the growth of the young plants. Because of this, after
cultivated crops, the ground is not usually plowed or otherwise stirred
on the surface.

When the soil is low in fertility, it may be necessary to fertilize it
before a crop of mammoth clover can be successfully grown. For such
fertilization, farmyard manure is very suitable. When soils are low in
the content of humus, before a good crop of clover can be grown, it may
be necessary to supply humus. But few soils are so deficient in
fertility that they will not grow clover if supplied with humus.
Farmyard manure supplies both humus and fertility, but in its absence, a
crop of rye buried in the soil will insure a stand of clover. In other
instances it may be necessary to follow with some kind of a crop that
has much power to gather plant food, as corn of some hardy variety, and
to graze or otherwise feed it from the land.

=Sowing.=--Much of what has been said about the sowing of medium red
clover will apply also to the sowing of mammoth clover. East of the
Mississippi and north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, mammoth clover is
usually sown in the spring, and for the reason that the young plants are
frequently killed by the severity of the winter weather when sown in the
autumn. But when sown at that season, the seed being mixed with winter
rye and being deposited by the drill as early as September 1st, the
plants frequently survive the winter as far north as Marquette County in
Wisconsin. The rye in the line of the drill marks provides a sufficient
protection for the clover. But this only occurs where the conditions are
eminently favorable to the growth of the clover. Around Puget Sound it
may also be sown with advantage in the early autumn, as then it should
produce a full crop the next season, and the same is true of nearly all
the Rocky Mountain valley region, but in these areas it may also be sown
in the spring. Between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains and
Oklahoma and Canada, spring sowing is usually preferable, and in much of
the area is an absolute necessity to insure a stand. In the South the
seed may be sown fall or spring; which season is to be preferred should
be determined chiefly by the character of the soil. On soil much given
to heaving in the winter it is usually preferable to sow in the spring.
In all, or nearly all, parts of Canada spring sowing only is admissible.

When the seed is sown in the early spring, it should usually be sown
quite early, as early, in fact, as the ground is in condition to receive
the seed when the nurse crop has been sown the previous autumn. When the
ground is smooth and impacted on the surface, it is considered
preferable to defer sowing until the ground is dry enough to admit of
covering the seed with the harrow. When deposited at the same time as
spring-sown nurse crops, and with these, the time of sowing will be
determined by the most suitable time for sowing the nurse crop. This
plant may be sown under certain conditions as late in the spring as
moisture exists in the soil sufficient to produce vigorous germination
in the seed. This means that it may be sown as late as June, if sown
alone, and even later. When sown thus late it should be on soil that has
been well cleaned near the surface. When sown in the autumn, as with
medium red clover, the aim should be to put the seed in as early as the
arrival of the autumn rains, that the plants may be well rooted before
the arrival of freezing weather.

Ordinarily, mammoth clover, like the medium red, is sown with a nurse
crop, whether sown fall or spring. (See page 84.) The nurse crops in the
North include winter rye, winter wheat, barley, spring wheat and oats,
suitable, probably, in the order named, also such pasture crops as rape,
vetches, and various mixtures of grain sown on certain soils to provide
pasture for cattle, sheep or swine. The best nurse crops in the South
include winter rye, winter barley and winter oats, even though the seed
should not be sown on them until the spring. On certain sandy loam soils
a stand of mammoth clover is more assured if sown with a pasture crop
than if sown with a grain crop which is to mature. (See page 82.) Under
certain conditions of soil and climate, this crop may be sown on plowed
or disked land in certain of the States, after a crop of grain, and in
other instances by sowing amid the stubbles and covering with the
harrow. But there is more of hazard in growing thus than by other
methods. Sometimes this clover is sown amid standing corn, at the last
cultivation, but too much shade or too little moisture may cause only
partial success, or even failure, whereas at other times the plan may
succeed.

The modes of sowing the clover are virtually the same as those to be
followed in sowing medium red clover. (See page 78.) It will be sown by
hand, by hand machines, and by the grain drill, with or without
attachments. The seed of this variety, however, will, on the whole, be
more frequently mixed in with the grain than the seed of the medium red
clover, because of the stronger growth that it makes. This will
frequently be found the preferable mode of sowing it when sown in the
autumn.

When sown to provide hay, mammoth clover and timothy make an excellent
combination for the reasons, first, that they mature about the same
time; second, that more of this clover is likely to survive the first
year of cutting than of the common red; and third, that more food, it is
believed, will be furnished to the timothy in the dead roots of this
clover than of the medium red. The first year of cutting, the hay crop
is likely to be nearly all clover; the second year, clover and timothy
mixed, and the third year, timothy. But if alsike is sown in the
mixture, though it may be little in evidence the first year, it will
show itself the second year and probably the third year. When sown for
pasture in short rotations, this clover may be sown alone or with other
varieties of clover, timothy or tall oat grass being added. When sown
for seed, it is probably better to sow it alone, but there is no very
strong objection to sowing timothy alone with the clover, since the
latter may aid in sustaining the clover, and it is not difficult to
separate mammoth clover seed and timothy seed.

When mammoth clover is sown alone for hay or for seed, not fewer than 12
pounds per acre of seed should be used. When sown with timothy, 6 and 8
pounds, respectively, would be an average seeding. If alsike clover is
added, the seed of the mammoth may be reduced by one pound, and the same
amount of alsike added to the mixture. When sown with the medium red
variety to provide short rotation pastures, about 6 pounds of each may
be sown. The pasture furnished will be more continuous than where only
one kind is sown. If timothy or tall oat grass is added, a pound of one
or the other of these should be added for every pound of the clover
withheld from the mixture. For permanent pastures 6 pounds of the
mammoth clover may be set down as the maximum to sow per acre, varying
the quantity with varying conditions. And when the clover is sown with
small grain to be plowed under in the fall or early in the spring,
usually only very moderate amounts of seed ought to be used, especially
where the hazard is considerable that the dry weather may cause failure
in the catch of the seed.

=Pasturing.=--Mammoth clover furnishes much pasture when it is grazed,
on into July and sometimes even into August, because of the vigorous
character of the growth, but after that season the growth is usually
light. Nor is there generally much growth after the crop has been cut
for hay. The palatability of the pasture is much the same as that of the
medium red variety. More grazing is furnished where the crop is fairly
well grown before the pasturing begins, but it is not so palatable, and
when unduly rank, to defer pasturing thus long would result in a
considerable waste of pasture, which the stock would tread under foot.
When the crop is wanted for hay, there may be instances in which it may
be advantageous to pasture it for a time to prevent the growth from
becoming overly luxuriant. There have been instances in which the
clover has grown so rankly that the lodged clover killed nearly all the
plants by excluding the air from the roots. When grown on soils that in
a normal season produce a rank growth, the quality of the hay will, in
nearly all instances, be improved by grazing. This, however, should be
done soon after the growth begins and should not be long continued, and
it should be close, in order to promote evenness and uniformity in the
growth of the hay crop.

When grown for seed, mammoth clover is quite frequently pastured. In
fact, in a majority of instances it is either pastured or cut with the
mower when a seed crop is wanted. The pasturing usually continues until
June 1st, but in some instances it is prolonged far on into June. The
duration of the pasturing season should be gauged largely by the
character of the soil and weather. The better the conditions for growth
in the plants, the longer may the pasturing be continued, and _vice
versa_. There are also conditions in which such pasturing may not be
necessary. But when the grazing is not close, the mower should be run
over the field, otherwise the seeds will not ripen evenly.

There is the same danger from bloating that is present when pasturing
medium red clover. (See page 94.) To avoid this danger, cattle that are
being thus pastured are in some instances given access to cured clover
hay. In other instances the haulm of the seed is left in the field so
that the cattle have access to it. But the second season of grazing, the
danger from bloat is not so great as the first season, as usually more
of other pasture plants grow amid the clover.

Horses, cattle, sheep or swine may be used in grazing off the clover for
seed. All of these may be used at the same time. Horses bite the crowns
of the plants so closely as to somewhat injure subsequent growth; sheep
also crop rather closely; cattle do not crop the plants so closely;
consequently, they are so far preferable to horses or sheep for such
grazing. On the other hand, sheep will prove far more destructive to
weed growth in the pasture.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Ordinarily, the methods of making the hay crop
are the same as those followed in curing medium red clover. The mammoth
variety, however, frequently requires a longer season in which to cure,
owing, first, to the heavier character of the growth, and second, to the
larger stems of the latter. After it has been mown there is greater
reason for using the tedder in getting it ready for being raked, and it
calls for more curing before it is put into cocks. The larger the
proportion of the timothy in the crop, the more easily it is cured. It
is ready for cutting when in full bloom, and loses more than the medium
red when cutting is too long deferred, because of the larger proportion
of coarse stems in the crop. It is also relatively more injured by rain
in the cocks, since it sheds rain even less readily than the medium red
clover, and the same is true of it in the stack.

Some farmers cure mammoth clover in its green form in the mow as they
also cure the medium red variety, but the same objections apply to
curing it thus that apply to the similar curing of the medium red. (See
page 102.) Others cure it in the mow by storing good bright straw,
preferably oat straw, in alternate layers along with the clover. From
one-third to one-half the quantity of the straw as compared with the hay
will suffice for such curing, varying with the degree of the wilting in
the hay. Clover cut in the morning after the dew has lifted may be thus
stored the same day. Where the facilities are present such a method of
curing mammoth clover may be eminently wise in showery weather. The
natural color of the hay and blossoms is thus preserved and the straw is
eaten with avidity, because of what it has imbibed from the clover.

=Securing Seed.=--It has been already intimated more seed will be
obtained when the clover has been pastured or cut back with the mower.
(See page 233.) When the mower is used, it should not be set to cut
quite low, or the subsequent growth will not be so vigorous as it would
otherwise be. The state of growth at which the clover ought to be cut
will be influenced by the luxuriance of the growth, but ordinarily
clover seed should not be more than 6 to 8 inches high when the mower is
used. What is thus cut by the mower is left on the ground as a mulch.
Mowing the crop thus will also be helpful in destroying weeds, but some
weeds will sprout again and mature seed as quickly as the clover.

When mammoth clover is neither pastured nor mown early in the season,
when grown for seed some kinds of weeds may be prevented from going to
seed in it by cutting them off with the scythe. When not too plentiful
they may be removed with the spud. Among the more troublesome weeds that
infest mammoth clover are the Canada thistle (_Cirsium arvense_), the
plantain (_Plantago lanceolata_), and in some instances the horse nettle
(_Solanum Carolinense_) and spring nightshade (_Solanum_).

The yields of the clover seed will be much influenced by the character
of the weather. Excessive rankness in the crop and excessive rainfall
during the blossoming season are adverse to abundant seed production.
But the seed crop is more injured by drought than by too much rain. When
injured by drought the growth will not be sufficiently strong, or, if it
is, the blossoms will be of a pale red tint. Warm winds while the seed
is forming are also adverse to seed production, since they cause the
crop to mature too quickly. Some experience will enable the capable
observer to forecast with no little certainty the probable yield of the
seed. If the indications point to a yield of seed less than 2 bushels
per acre, it is deemed more profitable, as a rule, to cut the crop for
hay. Large heads of a rich dark purple shade accompanied by vigor in the
entire plant are indicative of abundant seed production.

The crop is ready for being harvested when a majority of the heads have
ripened so far that the bloom on them is all gone and the shade of color
in the head has not yet become brown. If left until a majority of the
heads are brown many of them will break off while being harvested. The
crop is usually cut with a self-rake reaper, but it may be cut with a
mower. When cut by either method the sheaves should be made small, so
that they will dry out quickly.

It is important that the crop shall be threshed before it is rained on,
as one thorough wetting will so far bedim the attractive brightness as
compared with seed that has not been rained on that it will considerably
discount the price that would otherwise be obtained for it. It is
usually threshed with a huller, but may also be threshed like the medium
red variety by a grain separator with a suitable attachment.

The yields of the seed vary much. Instances are on record where as much
as 11 or 12 bushels per acre have been reaped, but ordinarily even on
good producing soils the yields are not more than 4 to 5 bushels per
acre, and under ordinary conditions for the production of mammoth clover
they are even less than the amount named. Notwithstanding the greater
strength of the plants, the seeds are apparently no larger than those of
the medium red variety, nor can they be distinguished from them unless
by an expert.

=Renewing.=--Much that has been said with reference to the renewing of
medium red clover will apply equally to the renewing of the mammoth.
(See page 109.) Where seed crops are much grown, the soil becomes so
impregnated with the seed that more or less of the plants will appear
any season. Renewal in the South is more important, relatively, than in
the North, as under some conditions the plants survive for a longer
period in Southern soils.

=Compared with Medium Red Clover.=--1. The mammoth is larger and coarser
than the medium red and is considerably less erect in its habit of
growth. It has larger and longer roots; hence, it goes down more deeply
into the subsoil in search of food.

2. It is, on the whole, longer lived than the medium red variety and has
greater power to grow in a sandy soil and under conditions in which
moisture is not plentiful.

3. It provides more pasture than the medium red variety during the early
part of the season, but not so much after harvest, the season of growth
being less continuous then than with the former.

4. The hay which it furnishes is usually considerably more bulky and
coarse, and because of this it is not so highly prized by stock.

5. It blooms about three weeks later than the medium red variety and
remains a little longer in bloom and seeds more freely, but can only be
cut once in a season.

6. It furnishes more green food for plowing under than the medium red;
hence, it is, on the whole, a better improver of the soil.



CHAPTER VII

CRIMSON CLOVER


Crimson Clover (_Trifolium incarnatum_) is also known by the names
French, German, German Mammoth, Italian, Egyptian and Carnation clover.
In America it is common in certain areas to speak of it as winter
clover, from the greater powers of growth which it possesses at that
season as compared with other clovers.

The plants have an erect habit of growth, and yet they are soft and
hairy, and they have much power to stool. More than 100 stems have been
produced by one plant, but under conditions the most favorable. The
leaves are numerous. The heads are oblong, cylindrical, and considerably
cone-shaped, and are from 1 to 2 inches long, and much larger than those
of medium red clover. The bloom is scarlet or crimson and of the richest
dye; hence, a more beautiful sight is seldom seen than that of a
vigorous crop of crimson clover in full bloom. The average height of the
plants may be put at about 18 inches, but they have been grown to the
height of 3 and even 4 feet. The root growth is fully twice that of the
stems. The roots are strong, go down straight into the soil, and are to
some extent branched.

Crimson clover is an annual, although usually the growth covers a part
of two years. Sown in the summer or early autumn, growth is completed
by the advent of the following summer. It is, therefore, pre-eminently a
catch crop, and because of this, when conditions admit of it, serves a
purpose in American agriculture, which can be served by none of the
other varieties of clover that are now grown. It has much power to grow
in cool weather, when the clovers are practically dormant. It does not
cease to grow until the ground has become frozen, and as soon as the
frost leaves the soil growth begins at once; hence, the greater relative
value this plant has for areas in which the winters are mild.

[Illustration: Fig. 6. Crimson Clover (_Trifolium incarnatum_)
  Tennessee Experiment Station]

Crimson clover is much relished by farm animals, whether used as
pasture, soiling food, silage or hay. Under some conditions it may be
pastured autumn and spring, and even through much of the winter. As a
soiling plant, its value is high, not only because it is a legume, but
because it comes in season at a time when it may be fed with winter rye
used as soiling. But the period is short during which it furnishes
soiling food. Its value as hay will always be lessened by the difficulty
in curing it so early in the season, and because of the danger from
feeding it to horses when cut at a too advanced stage of growth. It is
much in favor for furnishing chicken pasture in winter.

As a catch crop crimson clover may be made to do duty in seasons in
which other clover crops may have failed. As a cover crop or a mulch for
orchards, it is in high favor, as the growth which it produces protects
the roots of the same. But its greatest use lies in the beneficial
influence which it exerts upon soils by enriching them and also
improving their mechanical condition. It is likely, therefore, to be
grown more for this purpose than for any other. While growing it in many
instances will not render unnecessary the use of commercial fertilizers,
it will greatly reduce the quantity of these that would otherwise be
necessary. Owing to the season at which it is grown, it will be found
quite helpful in destroying weeds.

The behavior of crimson clover has thus far been somewhat erratic, even
in areas where the conditions are looked upon as generally favorable to
its growth. The opinions of practical men differ much with reference to
its value. There have been many instances of success and failure in the
same locality, and even in the experience of the same individual. These
varied experiences are doubtless due in a considerable degree to a
difference in seasons, to want of acclimation in the seed sown, to a
difference in varieties and to want of knowledge on the part of the
growers, whose work, heretofore, has been largely tentative. Five
different varieties have been grown, and these have not shown equal
degrees of hardiness. But the rapidly increasing sales of seed point to
the conclusion that larger areas are being sown every year. The increase
referred to may be expected to grow greater for many years to come;
since, when the needs of the plant are better understood, the failures
will be fewer.

=Distribution.=--Crimson clover is probably indigenous to certain parts
of Europe, especially to the countries that lie southwest and south. It
has been grown to a considerable extent in France, Germany and Italy.
The name Egyptian would seem also to imply that it is grown in Egypt. It
is not grown to any considerable extent north and west in Europe, owing,
probably, to the too severe conditions of climate which characterize
these. It is not indigenous to America, but was probably introduced from
Europe two or three decades ago. Its late introduction accounts for the
fact that its adaptation in some parts of the United States is as yet
controverted.

This plant needs a climate rather mild and decidedly moist. It cannot
withstand severe freezing when the ground is bare; hence, its uniformly
successful growth cannot be relied on very far north of the Ohio and
Potomac rivers. True, in certain winters of much snowfall it has come
through in good form considerably north of the rivers mentioned, but in
more instances it has failed. On the other hand, while it grows best in
warm climates, the growth in these is made chiefly when the weather is
cool, as in the autumn and spring, and in some instances in the winter.
It would be about correct to say that the climatic adaptation of this
plant is nearly the same as that of the peach. Climates too cold for
fruitage in the latter would be too cold for the uniformly safe
wintering of crimson clover. It would also seem correct to state that on
suitable soils and with sufficient precipitation, this clover will do
best in the United States when the climate is too warm for the medium
red clover to grow at its best. In the United States, soil and climatic
conditions taken together, would probably give Delaware, New Jersey,
Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee highest adaptation for the growth of
this plant. Taking in a wide area, highest adaptation would lie in the
States south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers and east of the Mississippi.
Washington and Oregon, west to the Cascade Mountains, would probably
furnish exceptions, but in these the necessity for growing crimson
clover is not likely to be so great as in the area just referred to,
owing to the ease with which other varieties of clover may be grown. In
some parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan many farmers
have succeeded well in growing crimson clover, but a larger number have
failed. The failures have arisen largely through dry weather in the
autumn, want of plant food in the soil and the severity of the winter
weather. Westward from these States to the Mississippi, the adaptation
is still lower, and the same is true of the New England States. In fact,
it is so low in these that it is far more likely that it will fail than
that it will succeed. Between the Mississippi and the Cascade Mountains,
crimson clover is not likely to be much grown. It will not grow well in
any part of the semi-arid belt. In the mountain valleys it would
probably succeed, but in these alfalfa and some other varieties of
clover will give far better returns.

Crimson clover will not grow well in any part of Canada, except in that
narrow strip of land between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific. The
winter climate is too cold for it. Some crops have been grown
successfully in the peach-producing areas of Ontario contiguous to Lakes
Erie and Ontario, but even in these it is an uncertain crop. The attempt
has been made to grow it in some of the provinces of Canada, and in
several of the States, by sowing the seed in the spring. Some fairly
good crops have been thus obtained, but usually not so good as can be
grown by sowing certain other varieties of clover at the same season. It
is but reasonable to expect, however, that adaptation in growing crimson
clover will widen with the acclimation of the plant, and with increasing
knowledge as to its needs on the part of those who grow it.

=Soils.=--Crimson clover though usually grown for the enrichment of
soils will not, as a rule, make satisfactory growth on soils very low in
the elements of fertility, whatsoever may be their composition or
texture. On orchard lands liberally fertilized, in the Middle Atlantic
States, excellent crops have been obtained, whereas on adjacent soils
precisely similar they have failed. In the Southern States, however,
better results, relatively, will be obtained from sowing this clover on
comparatively infertile lands, owing to the longer season which it has
for continuous growth. Where the winters are possessed of considerable
severity and when the protection of snow is more or less wanting, unless
the plants are strong when they enter the winter, they are almost
certain to perish. Loam soils with reasonably porous subsoils are best
adapted to its growth. Of these, sandy loams have a higher adaptation
than clay loams, when equal to the former in fertility, as in the latter
the plants can more quickly gather the needed food supplies, since the
roots and rootlets can penetrate them more readily. Such soils are well
adapted to the growth of orchards, especially peach orchards, and it is
in such areas that crimson clover has been grown with highest success.
In the alfalfa soils of the Rocky Mountain valleys it should also grow
well, but on these it would be less profitable to grow than alfalfa,
because of the permanency of the alfalfa. Even on sandy soils a good
growth will be obtained when these have been fertilized and sufficient
moisture is present. On stiff clays the growth is too slow to produce
crops highly satisfactory either North or South, and in dry weather it
is also difficult to obtain a stand of the plants. The alluvial soils of
river bottoms in the South produce good crops. The vegetable soils of
the prairie do not grow the plants very well, and the adaptation in
slough or swamp soils is even lower. Good crops will not be obtained on
soils underlaid with hardpan which comes up near the surface, whatsoever
the nature of the top soil may be, since the roots cannot penetrate
these.

=Place in the Rotation.=--It cannot be said of crimson clover, in the
ordinary usage of the word, that it is a rotation plant. It has probably
no fixed place in any regular rotation, and yet it can be used almost
anywhere in the rotation that may be desired, and in any rotation
whether long or short, regular or irregular. As previously intimated, it
is usually grown as a catch crop, and primarily to fertilize the land;
and since its growth is chiefly or entirely made in the late summer,
autumn, winter and early spring, that is to say, when the land is not
otherwise occupied, the only hindrances to using it anywhere in the
rotation are such as arise from the nature of the weather, the
mechanical condition of the land and the needs of the crops that are to
follow. For instance, at the usual season for sowing it, the weather may
be so dry as to preclude the hope of successful germination in the seed.
This influence may also make it impossible to bring the land into that
mechanical condition which makes a good seed-bed without undue labor,
and ordinarily it would not be necessary to have crimson clover precede
another leguminous crop; since the latter, under many conditions, can
secure its own supply of nitrogen. To this there may be some exceptions.
There may be instances, as on light, porous and leechy soils, when it
might be proper to grow crimson clover as an aid in securing a stand of
the medium red variety, or in growing a crop of peas for the summer
market. Ordinarily, however, this crop is grown to increase the supply
of plant food in the soil for crops which require nitrogen, and to give
soils more or less porous, increased power to hold moisture and applied
fertilizers. It is probably seldom grown to improve the mechanical
condition of stiff soils, since on these it grows slowly. Some other
plants can do this more effectively. It is pre-eminently the catch crop
for the orchardist and the market gardener, and yet it may be made the
catch crop also of the farmer, under certain conditions.

Crimson clover may be made to follow any crop, but it is seldom
necessary to have it follow another leguminous crop which has brought
nitrogen to the soil. Nor is it usually sown after a grass crop which
has brought humus to the land. It is frequently sown after small cereal
grain crops that have been harvested. It may be made to follow any of
these. Sometimes it is sown in standing corn. But oftener than anywhere
else probably, it is sown in orchards and on soils from which early
potatoes and garden vegetables have been removed.

It is peculiarly fitted for being grown in orchards. In these it may be
grown from year to year. It may be thus grown not only to gather
nitrogen for the trees, but to make them more clean than they would
otherwise be when the fruit is being gathered, to protect the roots of
the trees in winter and to aid in the retention of moisture when plowed
under. But this plant may also, with peculiar fitness, be made to
precede late garden crops. It may be plowed under sufficiently early to
admit of this, and when so buried it aids in making a fine seed-bed,
since the roots promote friability in the land. When grown under what
may be termed strictly farm conditions, it usually precedes a cultivated
crop, as potatoes, corn, or one of the sorghums. It is equally suitable
in fitting the soil for the growth of vine crops, such as melons,
squashes and pumpkins.

But in some localities this crop may be grown so as to break down the
lines of old-time rotations, since in some instances it may be
successfully grown from year to year for several years without change.
Potatoes and sweet corn, for instance, may be thus grown.

=Preparing the Soil.=--In preparing the seed-bed for crimson clover, the
aim should be to secure fineness of pulverization near the surface and
moistness in the same. The former is greatly important, because of the
aid which it renders in securing the latter at a season when moisture is
often lacking in the soil. As it is rather grown on soils deficient in
humus than on those plentifully supplied with the same, fineness in the
seed-bed is not so important as it is with some classes of prairie
soils.

In starting the seed, drought is the chief hindrance to be overcome in
the North, owing to the season at which the seed must be sown; hence,
the aim should be to begin preparing the seed-bed as long as possible
before the sowing of the seed. The preparation called for will be
influenced by the kind of soil, the crop last grown upon it and also the
weather; hence, the process of preparing the seed-bed will vary. The
judgment must determine whether the land should be plowed, or disked and
pulverized, or simply harrowed. After potatoes and other garden crops,
harrowing may suffice; after certain grain crops on soils not too stiff,
disking may suffice; but where much trash is to be buried, plowing would
be necessary, and when the ground is at all cloddy, the roller should be
freely used. In corn fields the last cultivation will make a suitable
seed-bed, and the same is sometimes true in cotton fields.

To grow good crops of crimson clover, it is necessary that there shall
be a considerable amount of plant food in the soil that is readily
available. Farmyard manure when it can be spared or secured will supply
the need. But the results will probably be more satisfactory where the
manure has been applied to the previous crop, as, for instance, to
potatoes or corn, and for the reason, probably, that in the relatively
dry season at which the seed of this plant is sown, the residue of the
manure still in the soil is more readily available than freshly applied
manure would be. Good crops have been grown on land thus manured, when
at the same time seed sown on land under similar conditions and similar
in other respects failed to give satisfactory yields.

In a majority of instances farmyard manure cannot be spared for such a
use. When it cannot, if necessary, commercial fertilizers may be
applied. Those rich in phosphoric acid and potash are usually most
needed, but sometimes nitrogen also is necessary. When nitrogen is used,
it may be best applied on the growing crop and while it is young.
Phosphoric acid and potash may be fitly applied when the land is being
prepared, and in a way that will incorporate them with the surface soil.
These may be used in the form of wood ashes, bone meal, Thomas' slag,
Kainit, sulphate or muriate of potash, South Carolina rock and acid
phosphate. Acid phosphate and muriate of potash stand high in favor with
some growers when applied in the proportions of 9 and 1 parts and at the
rate of, say, 200 pounds more or less per acre.

=Sowing.=--The date for sowing crimson clover would seem to depend more
upon latitude than upon any other influence. North of the Ohio River it
should seldom be sown later than September 1st, lest the growth of the
plants should not be strong enough to endure the winter weather. Nor
should it be sown earlier than July 1st, lest the plants should reach
the blooming stage without having made a sufficient growth, an objection
which applies to sowing earlier than July 1st in any part of the United
States. All things considered, August is the most favorable month for
sowing the seed north of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. In the South,
sowing at a later period is preferable. In the latitude of Tennessee,
September would usually prove more suitable for sowing than an earlier
date, and near the Gulf, October. But it may be sown earlier and later
in these respective latitudes. It is a good time to sow the seed in much
of the South when the autumn rains begin to come, and the same is true
of the Puget Sound country.

The seed may be sown by hand, by the aid of hand machines, by some makes
of grain drills in the same way as grain is sown, and by others with a
grass-seeder attachment. When sown by the latter, the seed should
usually be allowed to fall before the grain tubes to aid in securing a
covering for it; the covering thus provided should be supplemented by
additional harrowing and in some instances rolling. When sown by hand or
by hand machines on soils East and South, the roller should in many
instances follow and then the harrow, but on cloddy surfaces the harrow
should be used first and then the roller. No method of sowing the seed
is more satisfactory than that which sows it by grain drills, which can
deposit it in the soil as grain is sown, as it is then buried at an even
depth. Sowing to a medium depth, say, 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches, is preferable
to either extreme.

Whether it is advisable to sow a nurse crop will depend upon conditions.
When the seed is sown early, in hot weather the young plants are helped
by more or less of shade. Such shade is usually provided by the other
factor or factors of the mixture. But when shade only is wanted from the
nurse crop, a thin seeding of buckwheat has been found to answer. Melons
and tomatoes have in some instances furnished shade satisfactorily, and
in others upright growing varieties of cow peas or soy beans. The less
complete the preparation of the seed-bed, the greater also is the
necessity for shade. In orchards the shade of the trees is usually
ample, and in some instances excessive. The same is true of vigorous
corn and cotton crops.

Whether this clover should be sown alone or in mixtures will also depend
upon conditions. If the crop is wanted solely for the enrichment of the
land, it will usually be better to sow it alone, as crops other than
legumes do not bring as much fertility to the land. As a rule,
therefore, it should be sown alone in orchards. It should also, usually,
be sown alone for soiling crops and for hay, but in some instances for
both uses it may be sown with such crops as winter oats or winter
vetches. On some soils, however, these will too much crowd the clover
plants. On others the reverse will be true. For seed the crop should, of
course, always be sown alone.

For pasture, crimson clover is sometimes sown with rape, winter rye,
winter oats, the common vetch or the sand vetch. When sown with rape,
the date of the sowing should be early. With the other crops named the
most suitable date for sowing the clover will usually prove the most
suitable also for sowing these.

When sown alone, from 10 to 20 pounds of seed are used per acre. With
all the conditions favorable, 12 to 15 pounds should suffice. When sown
with rape for pasture, 3 pounds of rape and 10 of the clover, or even a
less quantity, should be enough. When sown with winter rye or winter
oats, about 1 bushel of each and 10 pounds of clover should suffice, and
when sown with the common or the sand vetch, 1/2 bushel of either and 10
pounds of the clover should be enough. When sown in the chaff, from 2 to
3 bushels ought to suffice, but the amount required will be much
affected by the character of the seed crop.

=Pasturing.=--Crimson clover may be pastured in the autumn or in the
spring or at both seasons, either when sown alone, or in conjunction
with some other pasture crops, as winter rye, oats, barley or vetches.
But it is not probable that it will ever become so popular as some other
pasture plants that grow during the same seasons of the year; since,
first, when it is grown, it is usually wanted for green manure; second,
it does not under some conditions grow satisfactorily with other crops;
and third, when grazed down in the autumn the covering thus removed
renders the plants much more liable to perish in the winter. When,
however, it is sown early in the season, as in July, along with Dwarf
Essex rape, or even alone, much grazing may be furnished, even though
the clover should not survive the winter.

It may be grazed by horses, mules, cattle, sheep or swine, but when
grazed with cattle and sheep, it is probable that some danger from hoven
or bloat will be present, as when grazing other kinds of clover. (See
page 94.) This danger, however, will be lessened, if not entirely
removed, when nurse crops are grown with the clover, except in the case
of rape. The grazing should not begin when the plants are small, lest
the growth should be too much hindered at a season when growth is
critical.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Crimson clover is ready to be cut for hay when
coming into, and a little before it is in, fullest bloom. Some
authorities claim that it should be harvested when the blooms begin to
appear. It should certainly not be allowed to pass the stage of full
bloom, lest the hay when cured should prove hurtful to horses and
possibly to other live stock, because of the presence of hair balls,
which are then liable to form from the hairs so numerously found on this
plant. These balls produce death by forming an impermeable wedge in the
intestines of horses, thereby impeding and in some instances totally
arresting the process of digestion. These balls, almost circular in
form, are composed of minute and rather stiff hairs, and several have
been found in one animal. These hairs, numerous on the heads; do not
stiffen sooner than the period of full bloom; hence, until that stage is
reached in the growth of the plants, the danger from feeding cured hay
made from them does not occur.

In New Jersey and the neighboring States, crimson clover is ready for
being cut sometimes in May earlier or later, as the season is early or
late. Further South it is fit to harvest earlier. At that season it is
not easily cured, since then rains are more frequent than in the
ordinary harvest season and the weather is less drying. Consequently,
hay caps may frequently be used with much advantage by the growers of
this hay. (See page 98.)

It is harvested as other clover; that is, it is cut with the field
mower, raked when wilted, put up into cocks, and left to stand in these
until it has gone through the sweating process, when the cocks are
opened out again on a bright day for a few hours prior to drawing them.
The tedder should be used freely in getting the hay ready to rake, as at
that season of the year it dries slowly.

=Securing Seed.=--Crimson clover does not ripen quite so quickly after
flowering as common red clover, owing, in part, at least, to the less
intense character of the heat and drying influences at the season when
it matures. Nevertheless, when it is ripe, unless it is cut with much
promptness, the seed will shed much from the heads, and the heads will
break off much during the curing process. If cut even two or three days
too soon, the seeds will not be large and plump. Moreover, showery or
muggy weather will soon greatly injure the crop. One or two days of such
weather after the crop has been cut will stain the seed; two or three
days of the same will cause much of the seed to sprout, and three or
four days will practically ruin the crop.

Because of the ease with which the seed sheds off the heads, it is
better to cut the seed crop while it is a little damp, or at least to
refrain from cutting during the greatest heat of the day. In some
instances it is cut with the mower and raked early or late in the day,
put up in small cocks and threshed from these in four or five days after
being cut. But this method of harvesting, however carefully done, is
attended with much loss of seed. It is better to harvest with the
self-rake reaper, the rakes being so adjusted that the hay will be
dropped off in small gavels or sheaves, so small that in two or three
days they may be lifted without being turned over; Much care should be
exercised in lifting the sheaves to avoid shedding in the seed, and it
should be drawn on wagons with tight racks.

While it is not absolutely necessary to thresh the seed crop at once,
the work can usually be done at that time with less outlay and with less
loss of seed. It is threshed with a huller or with a grain separator
with suitable attachments. Some attention must be given to the
arrangement of the teeth used in the machine, lest many of the seeds,
which are large; should be split; and as it is not easy to separate the
seeds from the haulms, specially made riddles and sieves must needs be
used.

The seed crop is usually harvested in June north of the Ohio and Potomac
rivers, and southward from these in the month of May. The yield of seed
runs all the way from 10 bushels per acre downwards. The average crop is
4 to 5 bushels.

=Renewing.=--Since crimson clover is an annual, but little can be done
in the sense of renewing it on the same land without breaking the
ground. But in orchards, it is sometimes grown from year to year by what
may be termed a process of self-seeding. When the seed is not quite ripe
in the heads, or even somewhat earlier, the orchard is plowed so as to
leave some of the heads standing up along the line of the furrow. When
these have matured, the land is harrowed, which scatters the seeds in
the chaff, and from these another crop is produced. But to this plan
there is the objection that it allows the clover to draw too heavily on
the moisture in the soil before it is plowed under.

=Facts Regarding Crimson Clover.=--1. When crimson clover is sown so
early in the season that it has at least three to four months in which
to grow before winter sets in, the benefits to the land from sowing the
seed will usually more than pay for the seed and labor, even though it
should not survive the winter.

2. Prominent among the causes of failure where crimson clover does not
succeed are: (_a_) The seed fails to germinate because of the want of
moisture, or having germinated the young plants are killed by heat or
drought; (_b_) they perish in the winter from exposure to cold winds or
frosts, or by alternate freezing and thawing in the soil; or (_c_) the
land is too low in fertility to produce a sufficiently vigorous growth
in the plants.

3. The mechanical effects upon the soil from growing crimson clover on
it are very marked, especially when it inclines to stiffness, owing to
the strong development of the root growth.

4. When crimson clover has been sown in the spring, a reasonably good
growth is usually obtained before midsummer, even as far north as the
Canadian boundary line, but since hot weather checks further growth and
frequently causes wilting in the plants, this variety is not equal to
some of the other varieties of clover for being sown at that season.

5. In the Southern States, crimson clover has been found to render
considerable service by aiding in preventing land from washing in the
winter season.

6. When plowed under in orchards, the work should be done at an early
rather than a late stage in the growth of the plants, lest it should rob
the trees of their rightful share of the moisture. Because of this, in
some instances, if not in all, the plants should be buried before the
season of full bloom and sometimes before the blooms begin to open.

7. The seed is more certain to germinate while yet enclosed in the chaff
scales, and because of this, where home-grown seed is used, it may be
worth while to secure it in this form by flailing out the seed or
treading it out with horses.



CHAPTER VIII

WHITE CLOVER


White Clover (_Trifolium repens_) is also called Dutch, White Dutch,
White Trefoil, Creeping Trifolium and Honeysuckle clover. The name Dutch
clover has doubtless been applied to it because of the extent to which
it is in evidence in the pastures and meadows of Holland; the name
Creeping Trifolium, because of the creeping character of the stems,
which, under favorable conditions, send roots down into the soil; and
Honeysuckle clover, because of the honey supplies which it furnishes for
bees. It is one of the plants known as Shamrock, the national emblem of
Ireland.

White clover is perennial, the stems of which creep along the ground
and, as above intimated, root at the joints; so that from this source
plants are indefinitely multiplied. They also come from the seed. The
leaves are small and very numerous, and with the exception of the flower
stems and flowers, furnish all the forage obtained. The flowers are very
numerous, especially when showery weather precedes and accompanies the
flowering season. They are large for the size of the plant, are
supported by a leafless stem of considerable length, and are white or
tinted with a delicate rose color. The roots are numerous and fibrous.
They cannot go down into the soil so deeply as the larger clovers;
hence, the dwarfing effect of dry seasons upon the growth.

[Illustration: Fig. 7. White Clover (_Trifolium repens_)
  Oregon Experiment Station]

This plant is exceedingly hardy. It comes out from under the snow with a
green tint, and the leaves are not easily injured by the frosts of
autumn. The growth is not rapid until the general late rains of spring
fall freely. It then pushes on rapidly, and, sending up innumerable
flower stems, turns the pastures in which it abounds into immense flower
gardens in the months of May and June, according to the latitude of the
locality. The bloom remains out for a considerable time, and free
grazing has the effect of prolonging the period of bloom. Under such
conditions, blossoms continue to form and mature seeds during much of
the summer. When these escape being grazed, they fall down upon the land
and aid in forming additional plants. Hence it is that when white clover
has once possessed a soil, it so stores the land with seed possessed of
so much vitality that subsequently white clover plants grow, as it were,
spontaneously on these lands when they have been thus grazed even for a
limited term of years.

The power of this useful plant to travel and possess the land is only
equalled by that of blue grass. When timber lands are cleared, white
clover plants soon appear, and in a few years will spread over the whole
surface of the land. But the amount of grazing furnished by it varies
greatly with the character of the season. Some seasons its bloom is
scarcely in evidence; other seasons it overspreads the pastures.

While it is an excellent pasture plant for stock, they do not relish it
so highly as some other pasture plants; when forming seed, it is least
valuable for horses, owing to the extent to which it salivates them. Its
diminutive habit of growth unfits it for making meadows, unless in
conjunction with other hay plants. In nutritive properties, it is placed
ahead of medium red clover. Some growers have spoken highly of it as a
pasture plant for swine.

Being a legume, it has the power of enriching soils with nitrogen, but
probably not to so great an extent as the larger varieties of clover.
Its rootlets, however, have a beneficent influence on the texture of
soils, because of their number, and because of the power of the stems to
produce fresh plants, which occupy the soil when other plants die. The
latter furnish a continued source of food to other grasses, which grow
along with white clover in permanent pastures.

Along with blue grass, white clover plants aid in choking out weeds.
This result follows largely as the outcome of the close sod formed by
the two. But in some soils, plants of large growth and bushes and young
trees will not thus be crowded out.

=Distribution.=--White clover is certainly indigenous to Europe and to
the Northern States, and probably Western Asia. It grows in every
country in Europe, but with greatest luxuriance in those countries which
border on the North Sea, the climates of which are very humid, and more
especially in the Netherlands and Great Britain. It stands in high
favor in Holland, but is not regarded so highly in England, owing,
probably, to the great variety of grasses grown there in permanent
pastures. It is generally thought that it was not indigenous to the
Southern States, but has reached these from those farther north. It
would seem to be capable of growing in all countries well adapted to the
keeping of cattle; hence, it follows in the wake of successful
live-stock husbandry.

White clover seems able to adapt itself to a great variety of climatic
conditions. Nevertheless, it is certainly better adapted to a moderately
cool climate than to one that is hot, and to a moist, humid climate than
to one that is dry. It has much power to live through dry seasons, but
it will not thrive in a climate in which the rainfall is too little for
the successful growth of small cereal grains. Where snow covers it in
winter, this clover will grow on timber soils as far north as any kind
of cereal can be made to mature; and it will also grow as far south as
the Mexican boundary on the higher grounds, when there is enough
moisture present to sustain it.

It would probably be correct to say that this plant is found in every
State in the Union, and that it succeeds well in nearly all the Northern
States, from sea to sea. Although it grows well in certain parts of the
Southern States, especially in those that lie northward, the general
adaptation in these is not so high as in those further north. The
highest adaptation in the United States is probably found in the Puget
Sound region and in the hardwood timber producing areas of the States
which lie south from the Great Lakes and in proximity to them, as
Northeastern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and New York.
But the adaptation is also high in the more elevated of the mountain
valleys of the Northwestern States when irrigated waters may be led on
to these lands. The areas lowest in adaptation are those that lie within
the semi-arid belt. The low-lying lands of the South, where hot weather
is prolonged in summer, are likewise low in their adaptation, but not so
low as the former. The prairie areas of the Northern Mississippi basin
have an adaptation for growing white clover that may be termed
intermediate, but where hardwood forests grow naturally on these the
adaptation is high. In New England the climatic conditions are very
favorable, much more so than the soil conditions.

In Canada, conditions are found highly favorable to the growth of this
plant in the country lying eastward from Lake Huron, north of Lakes Erie
and Ontario and also on both sides of the St. Lawrence River. Adaptation
is also high along the Pacific and in the mountain valleys not distant
from the Pacific. In all the areas of Canada, which once produced
forests, this plant will grow well. But north from Lakes Huron and
Superior, the soil conditions are against it, because of their rocky
character. Certain forest areas west from Lake Superior, and also in
other parts, the sandy soils of which sustain a growth of Jack Pine
(_Pinus murrayana_) trees, do not grow white clover with much vigor.
The prairie areas of Canada, westward from Lake Superior to the
mountains, do not grow white clover with much success, and the
adaptation for its growth would seem to lessen gradually until the Rocky
Mountains are approached.

=Soils.=--Small white clover will grow on almost any kind of soil, but
by no means equally well. Highest, probably, in adaptation, especially
when climatic conditions are considered along with those of soil, are
the clay loams west of the Cascade Mountains and northward from
California to Alaska. During the moist months of early summer, this
plant turns the pastures in these areas into a flower garden. Almost
equally high in adaptation are the volcanic ash soils of the Rocky
Mountain valleys. When amply supplied with water, the finest crops of
white clover can be grown even superior to those grown on the lands
described above. Almost the same may be said of what are termed the
hardwood timber soils, which are usually made up of clay loam lying upon
clay. Such areas abound in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and
some States further south. In these soils it grows with much luxuriance,
more especially when lime and potash are abundant. Similar luxuriance
may be looked for in the deposit soils of river basins in which the clay
element predominates, but not in those that are largely made up of sand.
It will also grow well on the stiffest clays, whether white or red, when
moisture is present. On prairie soils, the success attending it is
dependent largely on their texture, composition and the moisture which
they contain under normal conditions. The more firm these soils are,
the better will the clover grow in them, and _vice versa_. This is
equivalent to saying that the more clay they contain, the better will
the white clover grow in them.

Where the humus soils of the prairies are deep and are underlaid with
clay, white clover will grow much better in the subsoil, if laid bare,
than in the surface soil. Prairie soils which lift with the wind are ill
adapted to the growth of this plant, whatsoever may be their
composition. Much of the soil in the semi-arid belt would grow this
plant in fine form, but want of moisture, where irrigation is absent
makes its growth prohibitory in a large portion of this area. On
ordinary slough soils, this clover finds a congenial home, but it will
not grow quite so well, relatively, in these as alsike clover. On sandy
soils, such as those on which Jack pine and Norway pine (_Pinus
resinosa_) grow, this plant will maintain itself, and in wet seasons
will make considerable showing on these; but in very dry seasons the
plants will die, the growth the following season coming from seeds
already in the soil. In the soils of the extreme South, the inability of
white clover to make a good showing is probably more the result of
summer heat than of want of power in the plants to gather food. In those
of the Southwest, want of moisture and excessive heat render its growth,
in a sense, prohibitory.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Since white clover is usually not sown for
meadow, but is rather sown for pasture, it can scarcely be called a
rotation plant in the strict sense of the term; and yet, because of the
extent to which it grows when it has once obtained a footing in soils,
it is more or less frequent in all rotations in which grass or clover is
one of the factors. As it usually comes into the grass pastures, when
these have become established, it will occupy about the same place as
blue grass in rotations; that is to say, whatever would be proper to sow
after the blue grass would be proper to sow after this plant; since the
two usually unite in making the same sod. It will, therefore, be in
order to follow this plant with corn to feed upon the nitrogen furnished
by the clover. The same will be true of any small cereal that has
special adaptation for being grown on overturned sod, as for instance,
flax or oats, or of any crop that revels in the decay of vegetable
matter, more especially in the early stages of such decay, as, for
instance, potatoes and rape. When white clover is sown on land that is
cultivated, though only sown as a factor in a pasture crop, as with all
other clovers it may best be sown on land that is clean; that is, on
land on which the preceding crop has been cultivated to the extent of
securing a clean surface on the same. If, however, this crop must needs
be sown on land that has not been thus cleaned, its great inherent
hardihood will enable it to establish itself where some clovers and
grasses would fail.

It is common to sow white clover on land from which the forest has
recently been removed, also on natural prairie, where it has not
previously grown. In these instances it simply follows the crop of
forest in the one case and of native prairie in the other. But it will
not take possession of the land in either case to the exclusion of other
grasses.

=Preparing the Soil.=--The preparation of the soil for growing this
plant is much the same as for growing other plants of the clover or
grass family. Fineness, firmness, cleanness and moistness are the chief
essentials to be looked for in making the seed-bed. For the same reason
that it has much power to grow among weeds for so small a plant, it has
also much power to grow on surfaces not in the best condition of
preparation for receiving so small a seed. But when sown to provide a
seed crop, it is specially necessary to make the land thoroughly clean
before sowing the seed. This is necessary for the reason, first, that
small white clover, because of its tardiness in growing in the spring,
and because of its comparatively small growth has not much power to
crowd weeds; and second, because of the labor involved in preventing
weed seeds from maturing in a crop that ripens its seeds somewhat late
in the season. While it is advantageous to burn off the grass from a
natural meadow where white clover, is to be sown, it is not so
essential, nevertheless, as when preparing such land for being sown with
some other varieties of grass or clover. The young plants will endure
under conditions which would cause those of many other varieties to
fail.

=Sowing.=--White clover is sown by much the same methods as the medium
red variety. (See page 75.) But it will stand more hardship than the
other variety; hence, it may be sown earlier. This means that it may be
sown in northerly latitudes any time, from the melting of the winter
snows until early summer, and in southern latitudes almost any season,
except during the hot summer months. In either latitude, however, the
early spring is usually the most suitable season for sowing.

The seed may be sown by hand, by hand machines, or by the seeder
attachment of grain drills. It is more commonly sown along with other
clovers and grasses, and the methods of sowing these will also be
suitable for the sowing of white clover. (See page 18.) But when the
seed is sown alone, as for producing seed crops, the nurse crop need not
of necessity be sown thinly, from the fear that the young plants should
be smothered by an undue density of shade.

There is no mixture of clovers and grasses grown for pasture to which
this plant may not be added with profit, providing the seed is not
already in the land in sufficient supply. But it is seldom sown with
either clovers or grasses, or with these combined, for the production of
hay. It is the judgment of the author, however, that in localities which
have special adaptation for the growth of this plant, it should render
excellent service in providing hay for sheep, if sown along with alsike
clover, and a little timothy; the latter being sown mainly to support
the clovers so that they will not lodge. The white clover would furnish
hay considerably finer even than the alsike; hence, such hay should be
peculiarly adapted to the needs of sheep. Some authorities object to the
presence of white clover in hay intended for horses or cattle, lest it
should induce in them more or less salivation. The author leans to the
opinion that in cured hay injury from the source named will in no
instance prove serious, owing to the small amount, relatively, of white
clover in average hay crops.

The amount of seed to sow will vary with such conditions as soil,
climate and the nature of the pasture, but in any event it need not be
large. The seeds of white clover are small, considerably smaller than
those of alsike. For ordinary grazing along with other grasses, or
grasses and clovers, it will seldom be necessary to sow more than 1
pound of seed per acre. Sometimes a less quantity will suffice, as when
there is more or less of seed in the land, and, as already intimated,
because of the store of seed in the land in many instances, it is not
necessary to sow it at all. Especially is this true of sections which
have been tilled for some time. When sown with alsike clover to provide
hay, 2 pounds of seed per acre would be a maximum amount, and 4 pounds
when sown alone to provide seed.

When sown in newly cleared forest lands or on prairie sod, the methods
to be followed will depend upon circumstances. More commonly when thus
sown the seed is not covered artificially; consequently, much of it in
dry seasons may not grow. The plan, therefore, of sowing small amounts
of the seed on such lands two years in succession would be safer than to
sow twice the amount of the same in one year. In time this clover would
find its way into such areas. It comes through such agencies as birds,
hay fed to teams engaged in lumbering, and the overflow of streams; and
as soon as it gets a foothold its distribution is further accelerated by
the droppings of cattle which contain the seeds, and by the winds.

The power of this plant to increase is simply wonderful. This is owing
to: 1. The relatively large number of seedheads produced from the
plants. 2. The power which these have to multiply by means of rootlets
from the incumbent stems, which fasten into the soil. 3. The prolonged
season during which the heads form. 4. The habit of growth in many of
the heads, because of which they are not grazed off. 5. The strong
vitality of the seed. And 6. The great hardihood of the plants.

=Pasturing.=--White clover ranks next to blue grass as a pasture plant
within the area of its adaptation (see page 261), when its
productiveness, continuity in growth, ability to remain in the land,
palatability and nutritive properties are considered together. In
palatability it ranks as medium only. In the early part of the season
while it is still tender and juicy, it will be eaten by stock with
avidity, but as the seed-maturing season is approached, it is not so
highly relished. In nutrition it ranks higher than medium red clover. It
does not make much of a showing in the early part of the season, but in
favorable seasons, about the time that blue grass begins to fail, it
grows rapidly and furnishes much pasture.

It is pre-eminently the complement of a blue-grass pasture. When these
grow together, the two will furnish grazing in a moist year through all
the season of grazing. Both have the property of retaining their hold
indefinitely in many soils and of soon making a sward on the same
without being re-sown, when the cultivation of the ground ceases. The
blue grass grows quickly quite early and late in the season, and the
clover grows likewise during much of the summer. As the older plants of
the clover fail, fresh ones appear, and the blue grass feeds on the
former in their decay. They thus furnish humus and nitrogen for the
sustenance of the blue grass.

But much moisture is necessary in order to insure good blue grass
pastures, and they are more luxuriant when the moisture comes early in
the season, rather than when the plants are nearing the season of bloom.
To such an extent is white clover influenced in growth by such weather,
that in some seasons it will abound in certain pastures, while in others
it will scarcely appear in the same. Those favorable seasons are
frequently spoken of as being "white-clover years."

While this plant furnishes good grazing for all kinds of domestic
animals kept upon the farm, as a pasture for horses and mules, there is
the objection to it that it will in a considerable degree so salivate
them that much "slobbering" follows. This is sometimes produced to such
an extent as to be seriously harmful. The trouble from this cause
increases as the seed-forming season is approached. It has been known
thus to salivate cattle, but the danger of injury to them from this
source is slight. These injurious results to horses will be obviated in
proportion as the other grasses are allowed to grow up amid the clover;
in other words, in proportion as the pasture is not grazed closely early
in the season. The animals which then graze on these pastures must take
other food with the clover.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Since white clover is seldom grown alone for hay,
and since it seldom forms the most bulky factor in a hay crop, the
methods of harvesting will be similar to those practiced in harvesting
the more bulky factor or factors of the crop. The want of bulk in this
clover is against it as a hay crop, owing to the smallness of the
yields, compared with the other hay crops that may be usually grown on
the same land. As a factor of a hay crop, however, this little plant
will add much to its weight and also to its palatability, especially for
sheep and dairy cows.

When it is grown for hay in mixtures in which the large clovers or
timothy predominates, the white clover should, of course, be cut at the
most suitable season for cutting these clovers or the timothy, as one is
present in excess. When the larger clovers predominate, the method of
curing will be the same as for curing these (see page 234), that is to
say, it can best be cured in cocks. When timothy predominates, the
method of curing will be the same as for timothy; that is to say, it may
be cured in the cock or in the winrow, according to circumstances. Owing
to the fineness of the stems, it may be cured more quickly than red
clover; hence, its presence in a crop of timothy will not delay much the
curing of the latter unless when present in great abundance.

Under some conditions it would be easily possible to grow white clover
for hay alone, and in some instances with profit, more especially in
providing what would be a matchless fodder for young lambs and young
calves. It might be so grown in the clover lands that lie immediately
southward from Lakes Superior and Huron, in the northern Rocky Mountain
valleys and on the valley lands around Puget Sound. On these lands in a
favorable season, it would be quite possible to cut not less than 2 tons
per acre, while on average land white clover alone would not yield more,
probably, than 1/2 ton per acre. But even when grown for the purpose
named, some alsike clover sown along with the white clover would add to
the yield of hay, and without in any considerable degree lessening its
value for the use named.

=Securing Seed.=--White clover is a great seed-producing plant. The
season for bloom covers a period relatively long, and the number of
blossoms produced under favorable conditions on a given area is very
large. But when seed crops are to be produced with regularity, it is
necessary that moisture can be depended upon in sufficient supply in the
spring months to produce a vigorous growth in the plants. Such a climate
is found in the Puget Sound country and in a less degree for some
distance south from Lakes Huron and Superior. In areas which can be
irrigated, it is not imperative that the climate shall be thus moist.
Such areas, therefore, may be looked upon as possessed of superior
adaptation for the growth of seed crops of white clover.

The areas are limited, however, in which seed crops are grown in the
United States; so limited are they that it has been found very difficult
to locate them. Wood County in Central Wisconsin grows a considerable
quantity, and some counties northward in the same State, and probably
also some parts of Northern Michigan, will grow seed equally well.

Where a seed crop is grown every care should be exercised to have it
free from foul weeds. The aim should be to grow it on clean land.
Sometimes, however, the seed is self-sown; that is, it comes into the
land without being sown, but even in such areas it is safer to sow 3
pounds of seed per acre in the early spring along with a nurse crop. The
best seed crops in Wisconsin and Michigan are grown on a reasonably
stiff clay soil. To get a full crop of seed, it should be pastured for a
time in the spring, or the crop should be run over with the mower about
June 1st, setting the mower bar so as to cut 3 or 4 inches high. No harm
will follow if some of the tops of the clover should be cut off. The
grass and weeds thus cut are usually left on the ground, but sometimes
it may be necessary to remove them. In a short time the field should be
one mass of bloom.

The crop is ready for being harvested when the bulk of the heads have
turned a dark brown and when the bulk of them have assumed a reddish
brown tint, notwithstanding that some of the later heads may still be
in full flower. Vigorous crops may be cut with the self-rake reaper set
to cut low, otherwise many of the heads will not be gathered. To
facilitate this process, the ground should be made quite smooth even
before sowing the seed. But the seed crop is more commonly cut with the
field mower, to the cutter bar of which a galvanized platform is bolted,
the sides of which are about 6 inches high. From this the clover is
raked off into bunches with a rake. These bunches should not be large,
and since nearly all the heads in them will point upward, they should
not be turned over if rained on, but simply lifted up with a suitable
fork and moved on to other ground.

The seed crop cures quickly. It may be drawn and threshed at once, or it
may be stacked and threshed when convenient. If stacked, a goodly supply
of old hay or straw should be put next the ground, and much care should
be taken to protect the clover by finishing off the stack carefully with
some kind of grass or hay that will shed the rain easily. Since the
heads are very small and numerous, and since, as with all clovers, they
break off easily when ripe, much promptness and care should be exercised
in harvesting the seed crop. The best machine for threshing a seed so
small is the clover huller.

The yields of seed will run all the way from less than 3 bushels per
acre to 5 bushels, and some crops have been harvested in Wisconsin which
gave 7 bushels per acre. Four bushels would probably be about an average
yield. As the price is usually relatively high compared with other
clovers, the seed from white clover would be quite remunerative were it
not that in a dry season the yield is disappointing. In some instances
two crops are grown in succession; in others, one crop is reaped. The
land is then sown to barley the next year, and the following year clover
seed may be reaped again without sowing a second time. Usually, after
two successive crops of seed have been cut, blue grass crowds the
clover.

It should be possible to grow prodigious crops of white clover in
certain of the northern Rocky Mountain valleys, as, for instance, in
Montana and Washington, where the conditions for the application of
water to grow the plants and of withholding the same when ripening the
seed are completely under the control of the husbandman. The soils in
these valleys, as previously intimated, have high adaptation for growing
white clover.

=Renewing.=--White clover is probably more easily renewed than any plant
of the clover family. In fact, it seldom requires renewal in a pasture
in which it has obtained a footing as long as it remains a pasture. This
arises from the abundance of the seed production and from the power of
the same to retain germinating properties for a long period.
Nevertheless, there may be instances when it may be wise to scatter more
seed in the early spring in a pasture in which white clover may not be
sufficiently abundant. It is also renewed, in a sense, when suitable
fertilizer is applied on the pastures. A dressing of potash will greatly
stimulate the growth of any kind of clover on nearly all soils; hence,
the marked increase in the growth of the clover that usually follows the
application of a dressing of wood ashes, especially in the unleached
form. Top-dressings of farmyard manure are also quite helpful to such
growth.

The conclusion must not be reached that because white clover is not much
in evidence in a permanent pasture for one or two, or even three dry
seasons, if these should follow each other, that it will not come again
and with great vigor and in much abundance when a wet season arrives
again.

=For Lawns.=--No other plant of the clover family is so frequently sown
when making lawns. For such a use it is not sown alone, but is always
the complement of Kentucky blue grass or of a mixture of grasses. No two
plants can be singled out that are more suitable for lawn making than
white clover and Kentucky blue grass. Both are fine in their habit of
growth. The two in conjunction usually make a more dense sward than
either alone, and the clover will grow and produce many flowers, if not
kept clipped too closely when the blue grass is resting in midsummer.

As lawns are usually small, and a dense sward is desired as quickly as
it can be obtained; the seed should be sown thickly on lawns, at the
rate of not less than 5 pounds of seed to the acre. The early spring is
the best time for sowing the seed, but in mild climates it may be sown
at almost any season that may be convenient, providing the ground is
moist enough to germinate the seed. In cold climates, the seed should
be sown not later than August, unless when sown too late for autumn
germination. This in some instances may not only be proper, but
commendable.

=As a Honey Plant.=--White clover is proverbial for its ability to
furnish honey. There is probably no single plant which furnishes more or
better honey. But its value for such a use varies greatly in different
years. In seasons that are quite dry in the spring, it makes but little
growth and produces but few blossoms; hence, in such seasons bees can
obtain but little honey, relatively, from such a source. It would
doubtless be good policy, therefore, for the growers to encourage the
sowing of alsike clover where bees are much kept, since the growth of
this clover is less hindered by dry weather at the season named. Less
close pasturing than is commonly practiced would favorably influence the
production of honey from white clover, and would also result in
considerably greater yields of pasture.



CHAPTER IX

JAPAN CLOVER


Japan Clover (_Lespedeza striata_) was introduced from China or Japan,
or from both countries, into South Carolina in 1849, under the name
Japan clover. It is thought the seed came in connection with the tea
trade with these countries. According to Phares, the generic term
_Lespedeza_, borne by the one-seeded pods of the plants of this family,
was assigned to them in honor of Lespedez, a governor of Florida under
Spanish rule. It is sometimes called Bush clover, from the bush-shaped
habit of growth in the plants when grown on good soils, but is to be
carefully distinguished from the Bush clovers proper, which are of
little value as food plants.

Japan clover is an annual, but owing to its remarkable power to retain
its hold upon the soil, through the shedding of the seed and the growing
of the same, it has equal ability with many perennials to retain its
hold upon the soil. It does not start until late in the spring, nor can
it endure much frost; but its ability to grow in and retain its hold
upon poor soils is remarkable, while its powers of self-propagation in
the South would seem to be nearly equal to those of small white clover
(_Trifolum repens_) in the North. It is, therefore, one of the hardiest
plants of the clover family. Where it has once obtained a foothold, in
some soils, at least, it has been known to crowd out Bermuda grass and
even broom sage.

The form of the plants is much affected by the character of the soil in
which they grow. On poor soils, the habit of growth is low and
spreading; on good soils, it is more upright. But it is always more or
less branched, and the stems are relatively stiffer than those of other
clovers. They rise but a few inches above the ground in poor soils, not
more than 2 to 4; but in good rich soils it will attain to the height of
2 feet. About 1 foot may be named as the average height. The leaves are
trifoliate. The flower produced in the axils of the leaves are numerous,
but quite small. They appear from July onward, according to locality,
but are probably more numerous in September, and vary from a pink to a
rose-colored or purplish tint. The seed pods are small, flattish oval in
shape and contain but one seed. The tap roots are strong in proportion
to the size of the plant and are relatively deep feeding; hence, the
ability of the plant to survive severe drought. The roots have much
power to penetrate stiff subsoils.

Japan clover is not usually relished by stock at first, but they soon
come to like it, and are then fond of it. Close grazing does not readily
injure it; it also furnishes a good quality of hay, but except on
reasonably good soils, the yields of the hay are not very large. The
chemical analysis compares well with that of red clover.

Japan clover is also an excellent soil renovator. In the Southern
States, it is credited with the renovation of soils so poor that the
return was not worth the labor of tillage. Throughout much of the South,
it has rendered much service in thus improving soils. It also grows so
thickly on many soils as to lessen and, in many instances, entirely
prevent washing, that great bane of Southern soils. It will even grow
and produce some pasture under the shade of grass or Southern pines.

[Illustration: Fig. 8. Japan Clover (_Lespedeza striata_)
  Tennessee Experiment Station]

=Distribution.=--Japan clover is said to be native to China and other
countries in Eastern Asia. When introduced into Japan, the soil and
climatic conditions proved so favorable that before long it spread out
over the whole island. Since its introduction into the United States it
has spread very rapidly.

Since it does not grow early in the season, it needs a warm climate. It
grows much better in moist weather than in a time of drought, but it
will also continue to grow in the absence of rain until the drought
becomes excessive. It will then wilt down on poor soils, but grows again
as soon as rain falls.

Since the introduction of Japan clover into the United States in 1849,
or, as some think, somewhat earlier, it has spread over the entire
South, from the Ohio River to the Gulf, from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi, and also to the States of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas
beyond the Mississippi. It was early introduced into Georgia, and came
into much favor there. It reached Tennessee in 1870, and soon spread
over many counties. It came later into Louisiana, but soon became very
popular there, largely through the efforts of Colonel J. Burgess McGhee
of West Feliciana, who gave much attention to cultivating it and placing
it before the public. While it will grow readily in any part of the
South, it renders better service in the Gulf States than in those
farther north, owing to the longer season for growth. North of the Ohio
River it is not likely to be cultivated, since in the Northern States it
is not needed, because of the abundance of the red clovers and also the
small white. It is a less abundant producer than the red clovers, and is
also less palatable. Moreover, the season for growing it is much shorter
in these States than in those south; a fact which greatly lessens its
adaptation to northern conditions.

Japan clover has no mission for any of the provinces of Canada, and for
the reason that it has no mission for the Northern States.

=Soils.=--Japan clover is adapted to a wide range of soils. There would
seem to be a concensus of opinion in the Southern States that it will
grow on almost any kind of soil. It has grown well on hard, stiff clays,
both white and red; on sandy levels; on gravelly undulations and slopes;
on the banks and in the bottom of gullies; on soils too poor to produce
other crops, as on denuded hills and also in groves. But it will grow
much better, of course, on good, rich land, as on moist loams and rich
alluvial soils. While it prefers moist situations, it is not well
adapted to saturated lands. There is no useful pasture plant in the
South that would seem so well able to fight its own battle unaided on
poor soils as Japan clover, nor is there any which has brought so much
of renovation to these for the labor involved.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Japan clover can scarcely be classed as a
rotation plant in the strict sense of the term, since it more frequently
comes into the fields, as it were, spontaneously, and owing to the
uncommon degree to which it has the power of re-seeding itself, it is
frequently grown and grazed for successive years on the land upon which
it has been allowed thus to grow. Nevertheless, since it is a nitrogen
gatherer, when it has fertilized the land sufficiently by bringing to it
a supply of nitrogen and by putting humus into it, crops should follow
such as require much of growth to grow them in best form. Such are
cotton, corn and the small cereal grains. Owing to its power to grow on
worn and even on abandoned soils, and to crowd weeds that grow on them,
on such soils it comes in between the cessation of cultivation and the
resumption of the same. It frequently grows as a volunteer crop along
with Johnson grass, and where it comes, it tends to crowd grasses of but
little value, as brown sage.

Where pasture is desired winter and summer, it should be quite possible
in some localities to obtain it by sowing such crops annually, as winter
oats and sand vetches (_Vicia villosa_) every autumn, and the seed of
Japan clover on the same. The crops first named would provide winter and
spring grazing, and the clover, summer and autumn grazing. The clovers
and the vetches would both aid in fertilizing the land.

=Preparing the Soil.=--While careful preparation of the land will result
in more certain and uniform germination in the seed, and more rapid
growth in the plants, careful preparation of the seed is not so
necessary with Japan clover as with many other pasture and hay plants.
The seeds are strong in germinating power and the plants are much able
to grow, even under adverse conditions, when they do germinate. Usually,
the preparation which is suited to nurse crops, amid which this clover
is sown, will be suited also to the clover when it is sown thus.

In many instances, however, it is allowed to re-seed itself where it has
been once sown, or even where it may have come into the soil without
sowing. In this way successive pasture crops have been obtained. But
usually where hay crops are wanted, it will prove more satisfactory, all
things considered, to sow the seed.

In many instances, simply scarifying the ground has been found a
sufficient preparation for the seed. Any implement that will pulverize
the surface for a few inches downward will answer for such work. In very
many instances, seed, of course, self-sown has become rooted and grown
vigorously on unplowed land.

=Sowing.=--Japan clover is more commonly sown in the spring, but it is
sometimes sown in the autumn. There is more or less of hazard in sowing
it in the autumn north of the Gulf States, since when the plants are
young they will not stand much frost. For the same reason, there is the
element of hazard in sowing it too early in the spring. Spring sowing
stands highest in favor, taking the whole area into account, in which
the clover is grown. While it is possible to sow the seed too early in
the spring, it will be readily apparent that the earlier it may be sown
without hazard to the young plants, the better will be the returns,
because of the growth secured before the advent of dry weather.

The seed may be sown by any of the methods adopted when sowing medium
red clover. (See page 78.) The method which is most labor-saving,
however, when sown with a nurse crop, is that which sows it with an
attachment to the grain drill used in sowing the nurse crop. If allowed
to fall in front of the drill tubes, it will not usually need any other
covering than that furnished by the drill tubes followed by the roller.

It may be sown with any of the small cereals, whether these are grown
for pasture, for hay, or for grain. When these are fall sown and the
clover seed is not sown until the spring, it will be well worth while,
when the weather and soil will admit of it, to cover the seed with the
harrow. It may also be advisable to sow the seed in pastures, as, for
instance, along with orchard grass, or with tall oat grass, as it would
tend to fill the vacancies in the land.

When sown alone, 10 pounds of seed per acre will usually suffice. But
where there is much seed in the land that has been self-sown, a less
quantity will suffice. Where hay crops are wanted from year to year on
the same land, it may be obtained by simply disking the land and
re-sowing. If the hay is allowed to approach maturity before being cut,
sufficient seed will fall to re-sow the land for the next year's crop,
but the quality of hay so ripe is not so good as if cut earlier. In
pastures, the grazing must not be too close when self-seeding is wanted.

=Pasturing.=--Japan clover is much used in providing grazing in the
South. Some writers have spoken of it as being the most valuable grazing
plant that grows in the South. Viewed from the standpoint of
productiveness, this would be assigning it too high a place, since
Bermuda grass produces more grazing, but taking productiveness and the
probable influence exerted on soil fertility together, the estimate may
be correct. The ease with which Japan clover may be propagated is also a
strong point in its favor.

Since it starts late in the spring, it only provides grazing during the
summer and autumn months, from May, June or July onward, according to
the locality, and it fails with the appearance of the first heavy
frosts. In moist situations, it will furnish grazing during all the
summer and autumn, if not allowed to seed, but in time of drought, it
may wither on dry, thin soils and come on again when the rains of autumn
begin to fall. In order to keep the grazing tender and palatable, it
should be reasonably close. If allowed to mature much seed before
grazing begins, the plants will then die, to the great injury of the
grazing.

That stock do not take kindly to it at first, as they do to alfalfa and
some other plants, cannot be doubted. But they can soon learn to relish
it. It has been praised both for milk and meat production; hence, the
aim should be to have it in all permanent pastures. In some of these it
may be necessary to sow a few pounds of seed per acre at the first. If
the grazing is not too close, the plants thereafter will sufficiently
re-seed the land. It has been found quite possible in short rotations to
secure pasture from Japan clover without sowing it on land on which it
has once grown. But to accomplish this effectively, the grazing must not
be so close as to preclude a self-seeding. By growing such plants for
winter and spring grazing, as turf oats and sand vetches, and then
grazing the Japan clover, which will grow later on lands thus managed,
grazing may be furnished indefinitely from year to year.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Japan clover is a good hay plant when grown on
strong soils. The quality is good also when grown under adverse
conditions, but the quantity is deficient. On good soils, the yield is
from 1 to 2 tons per acre, the average being about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 tons.
The hay is also quite merchantable in Southern markets. It is considered
superior to baled timothy--timothy brought in from the North--especially
when fed to cows producing milk. Japan clover is best cut when the
plants are in full bloom. But harvesting is frequently deferred to a
period somewhat later where self-seeding of the land is desirable. Late
cutting, however, lowers the quality of the hay, both as regards
palatability and digestibility. Much that has been said as to the
curing of medium red clover will also apply to Japan clover.

Successive crops of hay may be grown from year to year on the same land,
as already intimated. (See page 285.) But where other crops are wanted
on the same farm, it would be wiser to grow these in some sort of
alternation or succession with the clover crops, so that the former
could feed upon the nitrogen brought to the land by the clover.

=Securing Seed.=--Japan clover is ready for being harvested when the
major portion of the seeds are ripe. This is late in the season. The
seed crop is more easily gathered when grown on good land, owing to the
more upright habit of growth. The self-rake reaper is probably the best
implement for cutting, since it lays it off in loose sheaves, and on
well-prepared land it may be made to cut so low as to gather the bulk of
the seed. But it may also be cut with the field mower as small white
clover is frequently cut. (See page 275.) Owing to the lateness of the
season at which the seed matures, careful and prompt attention may be
necessary to secure the seed crop without loss, owing to the moistness
which characterizes the weather at that season.

When Japan clover is to be harvested for seed, care should be taken to
prevent weeds from ripening their seeds in the same. With a view to
prevent this, it will be found helpful in many instances to run the
mower over the field some time after the clover has begun to grow freely
in the late spring or early summer. Such clipping will also have the
effect of securing more uniformity in the ripening of the seed.

The seed may be threshed in much the same way as other clover seed. (See
page 107.) The yields per acre should run from 3 to 8 bushels. It weighs
20 pounds per bushel.

=Renewing.=--Since Japan clover is an annual, it is not necessary to
renew it, in the sense in which more long-lived clovers are renewed, as,
for instance, the alsike variety. (See page 216.) About the only renewal
practicable is that which insures successive crops of pasture, hay or
seed from the same land where the crop has once been grown. (See page
285.) But the growth may, of course, be stimulated by the application of
dressings of fertilizer, such as gypsum, or those that may be termed
potassic in character.



CHAPTER X

BURR CLOVER


Burr Clover (_Medicago maculata_) is sometimes called Spotted Medick and
sometimes California clover, also Yellow clover. The name burr clover
has doubtless arisen from the closely coiled seed pod, which, being
covered with curved prickles, adhere to wool more or less as burrs do.
The name Spotted Medick has been given because of the dark spot found in
the middle of the leaflets, in conjunction with the family of plants to
which it belongs. The name California clover is given because of the
claim that it was much grown in California after having been introduced
there from Chili, and the name yellow clover, from the color of the
blossoms. After its introduction into the United States, seedsmen sell
California and Southern burr clover as two varieties, but the
correctness of the distinction thus made has been questioned. Many
persons were wont to confuse it with alfalfa, or, as it is frequently
called, lucerne, but the latter is much more upright in its habit of
growth, grows to a greater height, has more blossoms, blue in color, and
seed pods more loosely coiled. It is also to be distinguished from a
variety (_Medicago denticulata_) which bears much resemblance to it, and
which, growing wild over portions of the plains and foothills of the
West, affords considerable pasture.

Burr clover may properly be termed a winter annual, since the seed comes
up in the autumn, furnishes grazing in the winter and spring, and dies
with the advent of summer. It is procumbent or spreading and branched.
On good soil some of the plants radiate to the distance of several feet
from the parent root. They have been known to overlap, and thus
accumulate until the ground was covered 2 feet deep with this clover,
thus making it very difficult to plow them under. It is only under the
most favorable conditions, however, that the plants produce such a mass
of foliage. The leaves are composed of three somewhat large leaflets.
The flowers, as previously intimated, are yellow, and there are but two
or three in each cluster, but the clusters are numerous; hence, also the
pods are numerous. They are about 1/4 of an inch broad, and when mature
are possessed of considerable food value.

Burr clover grows chiefly during the winter, and is at its best for
pasture during the months of March and April, and in the Gulf States
dies down after having produced seed in May. Though it is frequently
sown, it has the power of self-propagation to a marked degree, which
makes it possible to grow many crops in succession without re-seeding by
hand.

It is not considered a good hay plant, but its value for pasture is
considerable, although, as a rule, animals do not take kindly to it at
first, as they do to alfalfa or medium red clover, but later they become
fond of it, but less so, probably, in the case of horses than of other
animals. Being a legume, it is helpful in enriching the land, and being
a free grower, it improves the soil mechanically through its root
growth, and also through the stems and leaves, when these are plowed
under.

=Distribution.=--Burr clover is said to be native to Europe and North
Africa, but not to North America, although it has shown high adaptation
in adapting itself to conditions as found in the latter.

Although this plant is hardy in the South, and, as previously stated,
makes most of its growth in the winter, it is not sufficiently hardy to
endure the winters far northward. Its highest adaptation is found in
States around the Gulf of Mexico. It also grows with more or less vigor
as far north as North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. For these States
its adaptation is, on the whole, higher than crimson clover, although
where the latter will grow readily it is considered the valuable plant
of the two.

For Canada, burr clover has no mission, owing to the sternness of the
winter climate in that country.

=Soils.=--While burr clover will grow with more or less success on
almost any kind of soil possessed of a reasonable amount of fertility
and moisture, it is much better adapted to soils alluvial in character
and moist, as, for instance, the deposit soils in the bottom of rivers.
Its power to fight the battle of existence on poor lands is much less
than that of Japan clover, but on soils that grow crops, such as corn or
cotton, it may be made to render a service which the other cannot,
since it grows chiefly in winter and early spring, whereas Japan clover
grows in the summer and early autumn, when cultivated crops occupy the
land.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Burr clover is grown more in the sense of a
catch crop and for pasture than in that of a crop to be marketed
directly. Since it is grown in the winter and spring, it may be made to
come in between various crops. On good producing lands of the South it
has given satisfaction as a pasture plant for winter for many successive
years without re-sowing by hand, when sown in conjunction with crab
grass (_Panicum sanguinale_) for hay. Dr. Phares grew it thus in
Mississippi for about 20 years. In June crab grass sprang up on the
ground, and being cut when in blossom, produced a good crop of hay in
August. A lighter cutting was again taken in October. The clover then
took possession of the land and was grazed until spring, but not so
closely as to prevent re-seeding in May, after which the plants died
down.

By thus allowing the plants to mature seed, any crop may follow that can
be grown after May. By following burr clover with cow peas, land may be
much fertilized in one year. By reversing the process on land low in
fertility, that is, sowing the peas first and the clover later, a much
better growth of the clover will be secured. The seed may also be sown
in corn and cotton crops, with a view to enriching the land. But it is
only in the Gulf States that much attention is given to growing burr
clover thus, and for the reason, probably, that the winters are too
cold to admit of the plants furnishing a sufficiency of grazing at that
season.

Burr clover is sometimes grown with Bermuda grass. The latter furnishes
summer grazing. There is some merit in the plan, if the seed of the burr
clover were sown from year to year. When the re-seeding of the plants is
depended on from season to season there is difficulty in adjusting the
grazing so as to admit of the plants properly re-seeding for the growth
that is to follow. If the Bermuda grass is not closely grazed many of
the burrs which contain the seeds may not reach the ground in time to
germinate.

=Preparing the Soil.=--Since burr clover has much power to re-seed the
land without preparation, it is more commonly reproduced thus. But, as
with all other plants, it will grow more quickly and more luxuriantly on
a well-prepared seed-bed, where it may be thought worth while to thus
prepare the land. The cultivation given to such crops as corn, cotton or
cow peas makes an excellent preparation of the soil on which to sow burr
clover.

=Sowing.=--Usually, burr clover is allowed to re-seed itself after it
has once become established in the soil. In this respect it is not
unlike small white clover and Japan clover, but it does not grow so well
as these on poor soil. Where not yet established, it must, of course, be
sown where it is desired to grow it.

The seed is commonly sown in September or early October, but some
growers recommend sowing in the burrs as early as June or July, that the
tough surrounding which encloses the seed may have time to decay. When
seed separate from the burr is used, it is sown in the months named.
When sown on well-prepared soil, grazing should be plentiful from
February onward.

Burr clover is more commonly sown in the burr. The burrs are usually
scattered by hand and on land that has been pulverized, but it is easily
possible, when the conditions are favorable, to obtain a stand on land
that has not been plowed. Where seed is scarce, the burrs are sometimes
planted in squares 3 feet apart each way, a limited number of burrs
being dropped at one time. When thus planted, 1 bushel of burrs will
plant several acres. The plants will soon possess all the ground, but to
enable them to do so, pasturing must be deferred for one season. Whether
sown in the burr or otherwise, it is better to cover the seed with the
harrow.

One bushel of burrs weighs from 10 to 12 pounds. It has been stated 1
bushel of clean seed weighs 60 pounds. When sown in the burr, it is
usual to sow 3 to 5 bushels per acre, but in some instances less is sown
and in some more. When seed apart from the burr is sown 12 pounds per
acre should suffice. In some instances it is sown on Bermuda sod, but
the attempts to grow it thus have not always proved satisfactory. At the
Louisiana Experiment Station it was found that the burr clover remained
long enough and grew large enough to injure the Bermuda. Possibly closer
grazing would have prevented such injury. When sown on Bermuda grass,
June, July or August are the months chosen for scattering the seed.

Burr clover is also sometimes sown in corn and cotton to provide winter
grazing, but when thus sown the object more frequently sought is to
enrich the land. Both ends may be accomplished in some degree.

=Pasturing.=--Opinions differ as to the palatability of this grass. All
are agreed that stock do not take kindly to it at first, but that they
come to relish it at least reasonably well when accustomed to it. It is
said to be relished less by horses and mules than by other domestic
animals. It has been praised as a pasture for swine. It is more
palatable in the early stages of its growth, and will bear close
grazing, and also severe tramping. It will provide pasture for six
months, but not so bountifully in the first months of growing as later.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Burr clover is not a good hay plant. Owing to the
recumbent character of the growth it is not easily mowed, nor has it
much palatability in the cured form. The yield is said to be from 1/2 to
1 ton per acre.

=Securing Seed.=--In the Gulf States the seed matures in April and May.
The plants grow seed profusely. Sown in October, stock may usually be
allowed free access to it until March, and if then removed, it will
spring up quickly and mature seed so profusely that when the plants die
and partially decay seed may sometimes be collected in hollows, into
which it has been driven by the wind. It is more commonly sown in the
burr form, the form in which it is usually gathered. The more common
method of saving the seed, as given by Mr. A. H. Beattie of Starkville,
Mississippi, is to first rake off the dead vines so as to leave the
burrs on the ground and then sweep them together with a suitable wire or
street broom. It is then lifted and run through two sets of sifters of
suitable mesh by hand to remove the trash swept up in gathering the
seed. It is probable that other methods more economical of labor are yet
to be devised when harvesting the seed crop. As much as 100 bushels of
burrs have been obtained from an acre, but that is considerably more
than the average yield of seed.

=Renewing.=--Since this plant is an annual, it cannot be renewed in the
sense in which renewal is possible with a perennial. But as has been
shown above (see page 294), it may be grown annually for an indefinite
period in the same land and without re-sowing by hand. It has also been
shown that by sowing the seed in certain crops at the proper season,
from year to year, it may be made to grow from year to year where the
rotation will admit of this. (See page 295.) When the ground is well
stored with seed, the plants will continue to come up freely in the soil
for at least two or three years, even without any re-seeding of the
land.

=As a Fertilizer.=--The growing of burr clover exercises a beneficial
influence on the land. Its value for this purpose, since it can be grown
as a catch crop, is probably greater than its value in providing food
for stock. Like all plants that are more or less creeping in their habit
of growth, it shades the soil and keeps it moist, which, in conjunction
with the influence of the roots, puts it in a friable condition. When
the plants grow rankly, it is not easy to bury them properly with the
ordinary plow, but in such instances, if cut up with a disk harrow, the
work is facilitated. The plants quickly die down so as to make plowing
easily possible, but the aim should be to have such decay take place
within the soil rather than above it.



CHAPTER XI

SWEET CLOVER


Sweet clover is so named from the sweet odor which emanates from the
living plants. It is of two species. These are designated, respectively,
_Melilotus alba_ and _Melilotus officinalis_. The former is also called
Bokhara clover, White Melilot and Tree clover. It is possibly more
widely known by the name Bokhara than by any other designation. The
latter is sometimes called Yellow clover. The difference between these
in appearance and habits of growth does not seem to be very marked,
except that the blossoms of the former are white and those of the latter
are yellow.

Sweet clover is upright and branched in its habit of growth. It attains
to a height of from 2 to 8 feet, according to the soil in which the
plants grow. The somewhat small and truncate leaves are not so numerous,
relatively, as with some other varieties of clover, and the stems are
woody in character, especially as they grow older. The blossoms are
small and white or yellow, according to the variety, and the seed pods
are black when ripe. The roots are large and more or less branched, and
go down to a great depth in the soil; especially is this true of the
main, or tap root.

The plants, according to Beale, are annual or biennial, but more
commonly they are biennial. They do not usually blossom the year that
they are sown, but may blossom within a year from the date of sowing.
For instance, when sown in the early autumn, they may bloom the
following summer. They are exceedingly hardy, having much power to
endure extremes of heat and cold, and to grow in poor soils and under
adverse conditions. In some soils they take possession of road sides and
vacant lands, and continue to grow in these for successive years. The
impaction of such soils by stock treading on them seems rather to
advance than to hinder the growth. They start growing early in the
spring and grow quickly, especially the second year. They come into
bloom in June, early or later, according to the latitude, and ordinarily
only in the year following that in which they were sown. Because of the
fragrant odor which is emitted from the plants as they grow, they are
sometimes introduced into gardens and ornamental grounds.

[Illustration: Fig. 9. Sweet Clover (_Melilotus alba_)
  Tennessee Experiment Station]

The uses of the plants are at least three. It has some value as a food
for live stock. It has much value as a fertilizer. It has probably even
more value as a food for bees. It has also been used in binding soils.
Its value as a food for stock has probably been overestimated. It is
bitter, notwithstanding the fragrant odor that emanates from it; hence,
it is not relished by stock, insomuch that they will not eat it when
they can get other food that is more palatable. As hay, it is hard to
cure and of doubtful palatability when cured. As a fertilizer, its value
does not seem to have been sufficiently recognized, and the same is
probably true of it as bee pasture, although many bee-keepers are alive
to its great merit for such a use.

This plant does not seem to find much favor with many. The United States
Department of Agriculture has spoken of it as a "weedy biennial,
concerning which extravagant claims have been made." The laws of some
States proscribe it as a weed, and impose penalties directed against any
who allow it to grow. Legislatures should be slow to class a legume as a
weed, especially one that has much power to enrich soils. The author
cherishes the opinion that this plant has a mission in the economy of
agriculture and of considerable importance to farmers, especially in
soils that are poor and worn, as soon as they come to understand it
properly.

=Distribution.=--Sweet clover is probably indigenous to the semi-arid
regions of Asia. The name Bokhara would seem to indicate as much, but it
is also found in many parts of Europe, and if the facts were known, was
doubtless brought from Europe to North America by the first settlers.
For many decades it has been represented in many flower gardens in all
parts of the country.

The plant will endure almost any amount of cold when it is once
established. It has stood well the winters of Manitoba. It can also
endure extreme summer heat, since it thrives well in some parts of
Texas. It grows most vigorously where the rainfall is abundant, as in
Western Oregon, and it makes a strong growth in the dry areas of Western
Kansas and Nebraska.

Sweet clover will grow vigorously in some part or parts of every State
in the Union. Of course, it has higher adaptation for some conditions
than others. In some of the Central and Southern States, it has
multiplied to such an extent without cultivation as to have assumed the
character of a weed; hence, the legislation against it. When it is
called to mind that this plant is a legume, and when the further fact is
recognized that it may be used not only in enriching soils, but at the
same time improving them mechanically, in addition to other benefits
that it may be made to render, surely the enactments which prohibit its
growth should be repealed in any State where these exist. In the
Northern States, with a normal rainfall, the mission of this plant is
likely to be circumscribed, for the reason that other legumes possessed
of a much higher food value may be grown in these. In the Southern
States, its mission will be more important, since it may be used in some
of these with decided advantage in binding soils and in renovating them,
even when too poor to produce a vigorous growth of cow peas. It is
likely also that it may yet be made to render good service in the
semi-arid country west of the Mississippi River, where other clovers
cannot be grown.

Sweet clover will grow in all the provinces of Canada. For economic
uses, however, it is not likely to grow to any great extent east of Lake
Superior, or west of the Rocky Mountains. Other legumes more useful may
be grown in these areas. But in the intervening wheat-growing region it
is possible that it may come to be used for purposes of soil
renovation.

=Soils.=--But little can be gleaned from American sources on this
subject. Notwithstanding, it may be said with safety that it has greater
power to grow on poor, worn and hard soils than any forage plant that
has yet been introduced into America for economic uses.

It will probably be found true of it, as of other clovers, that it will
thrive best on soils that have produced timber, and more especially
timber of the hardwood varieties. This means, therefore, that it will
grow well in probably all kinds of clay soils and also in loam soils
underlaid with clay. It has high adaptation for soils abounding in lime.
It can be made to succeed on hard clay subsoils from which the surface
soil has been removed. But it will also grow well on sandy soils and
even on gravels when a reasonable amount of moisture is present. The
author succeeded in growing it in good form in 1897 and 1898 in a vacant
lot in St. Paul, from which 6 to 8 feet of surface soil had been removed
a short time previously. The subsoil was so sandy that it would almost
have answered for building uses.

This clover will probably grow with least success on soils of the
prairie so light in texture as to lift with the winds, and in which the
underlying clay is several feet from the surface, also in slough soils
that are much saturated with water.

Since it grows vigorously on road sides, in rocky waste places and even
in brick yards when sown without a covering, the idea has gained
currency that the harder the soil, the better the plants will grow, and
the more surely will they be established in the soil; but this view does
not seem to be in accord with the principles which usually govern plant
growth. It will, however, send its roots down into hard subsoils so
deeply that in certain seasons the plants could not be dug up without
the aid of a pick.

=Place in the Rotation.=--Since sweet clover seed is more commonly
scattered in byplaces, or is self-sown from plants that have run wild,
it can scarcely be said that it has ever been grown as a regular crop
and in a regular rotation. Nor is it ever likely to become a factor in
such a rotation unless its properties shall be so modified that it can
be grown acceptably as a pasture plant. In such an event it would have
the same place in the rotation as other clovers; that is, it would
naturally follow a cultivated, that is, a cleaning crop, and precede
some crop or a succession of crops that would profit from the nitrogen
and humus which it had brought to the soil, and also from the influence
which the roots would exercise mechanically upon the same. But the
necessity for sowing it on clean ground would not be so great as with
the other clovers, since it has greater power than these to overshadow
weeds when the two grow together.

In the meantime, this plant will probably continue to be grown as in the
past; that is, if sown, it will be sown: 1. In byplaces to provide
pasture for bees, in which case in time it will be superseded by other
plants. 2. On worn lands so poor that they refuse to grow valuable food
products sown, partly, at least, with a view to renovate them. And 3. In
cuttings made by railroads and in gullies that have been made in fields,
with a view to prevent soil movement. It may also come to be sown in
grain crops in localities where other varieties of clover will not grow,
to be plowed under the following spring.

=Preparing the Soil.=--Since sweet clover will grow on the firmest and
most forbidding soils, even when self-sown, it would not seem necessary,
ordinarily, to spend much time in specially preparing a seed-bed for it.
The fact stated is proof of its ability to grow on a firm surface. It
does not follow, however, that such a condition of the seed-bed will
give a better stand of the plants than a pulverized condition of the
same, as some have contended. It may be that on soils that are quite
loose near the surface, and under conditions that incline to dry a
seed-bed firm and even hard, may be more conductive to growth in the
plants than one in which the conditions are the opposite. Much rolling
of loose soils has been recommended when preparing the seed-bed with a
view to firm them.

When the seed is sown along with grain, the preparation of the soil
needed for grain would be ample preparation also for the clover. When
sown on stubble land, in many instances no preparation by way of
stirring the soil would seem necessary. And when sown on railroad
embankments, road sides, rocky situations and byplaces generally no
preparation of the soil would be possible.

=Sowing.=--In the North sweet clover is best sown in the spring. In
fact, it can only be sown then with the assurance that it will survive
the winter north of a certain limit. That limit will vary with altitude,
but it will probably run irregularly across the Middle States, from the
Atlantic westward to the Cascade Mountains, beyond which it will veer
away to the North. In the Southern States, it may be sown fall or
spring, but if sown late in the fall the young plants will in some
instances succumb to the frost of winter. Early fall sowing, therefore,
is much to be preferred to sowing late.

The method of sowing may be the same as in sowing medium red clover (see
page 78); that is, when the seed is sown with grain crops. When sown in
byplaces, it will ordinarily be sown by hand. In such places it will
re-seed itself and will likely grow in these for successive seasons. On
railroad embankments, the seed is scattered more commonly on the upper
portion, and from the plants which grow there the seeds produced scatter
downward. The plants not only lessen washing in the soil, but they
prepare the same for the growth of grasses. They also aid thus in the
introduction of grasses into rocky and very hard soils.

Sweet clover may be sown with almost any kind of a nurse crop desired,
which does not destroy it with an over-abundant shade. Or it may be sown
alone where such a necessity exists. But the instances are not numerous
in which it would be desirable or necessary to sow it alone on arable
soils. There may be conditions when it could be sown successfully at the
time of the last cultivation given to corn and with a view to soil
enrichment.

Since sweet clover is seldom sown for the purpose of providing food for
live stock, it is not sown in mixtures, nor is it well adapted for being
sown thus, because of the large and luxuriant character of the growth,
which would tend to smother other plants sown along with it.

The amount of seed to sow has been variously stated at from 15 to 20
pounds per acre. The smaller amount should be enough for almost any
purpose, and a much smaller amount should suffice for sowing in byplaces
and along road sides, where the plants retain possession of the ground
through self-seeding.

=Pasturing.=--Because of the bitter aromatic principle which it
contains, known as commarin, stock dislike it, especially at the first.
And it is questionable if they can be educated to like it in areas where
other food, which is more palatable, grows abundantly. In an experiment
directed by the author at the Minnesota University Experiment Station,
sheep pastured upon it, and did not take kindly to it; but by turning
them in to graze upon it in the morning, they cropped it down. In
localities where good grazing is not plentiful, if live stock have
access to it, especially when the plants are young, they will so crop it
down that in a few years it will entirely disappear. But where other
pastures are abundant, it will continue to grow indefinitely. It would
not seem wise to sow it for the purpose of providing grazing, unless
where the conditions for growing other and better grazing are
unfavorable.

Some have spoken favorably of sweet clover for soiling uses. It makes a
very rapid growth quite early in the season, and when cut and wilted
more or less before being fed, the palatability is thereby considerably
increased. Small plots of this plant near the outbuildings may in this
way be utilized with some advantage in the absence of better soiling
plants.

=Harvesting for Hay.=--Sweet clover is not a really good hay plant under
any conditions, and if not cut until it becomes woody, is practically
valueless for hay. It ought to be cut for hay a little before the stage
of bloom. If cutting is longer deferred, the plants become woody. Such
early cutting, however, adds much to the difficulty of curing the crop,
since, while naturally succulent, its succulence is then, of course,
considerably more than at a later period. It should be cured like medium
red clover. (See page 96.) If not cut sufficiently early, and cured with
as much care as is exercised in curing alfalfa, there will be
considerable loss from the shedding of the leaves.

More commonly the plants are not cut for hay the year that they are
sown, but some seasons such harvesting is entirely practicable in
certain situations. The hay crop or crops are usually taken the second
year. Sometimes the crop is cut twice. It is entirely practicable to
obtain two cuttings under ordinary conditions, because of the vigor in
the growth, and because of the early season at which it must be
harvested for hay. From 3 to 4 or 5 tons may thus be obtained in many
instances from the two cuttings.

=Securing Seed.=--Nearly all of the seed sown in this country is
imported. The author has not been able to obtain information with
reference to growing seed within the United States; hence, the inference
is fair that but little of it has been grown for that purpose up to the
present time. Since, however, it seeds freely, and since the price of
seed is high, seed crops, more especially when the plants are also
utilized as bee pasture, ought to prove remunerative in the hands of
judicious growers.

The seed crop is obtained usually, if not always, the second year after
the sowing. If cut for hay before coming into bloom, it will grow up
again and bear seed profusely. This would seem preferable on strong
soils, as it would prevent that rankness in growth which would militate
against abundant seed production, and which would add much to the labor
of handling the crop.

The seed crop may be cut and handled in substantially the same way as
medium red clover when grown for seed. It may also be cured and thrashed
essentially in the same way. (See page 105.) The author has not been
able to obtain information with reference to the average yield of the
seed crop under American conditions. The seed, like that of the medium
red variety, should weigh 60 pounds per bushel.

=Renewing.=--In the sense of a pasture or hay crop, it would not seem
necessary to try to renew this crop, because of the relatively low value
which it possesses for these uses. When grown for bee pasture, it will
renew itself for an indefinite period when the plants are not cut for
seed and where the conditions are favorable to growth. When grown to
keep soils from washing or railroad embankments from breaking down, it
will, of course, renew itself in the same way. In time, however, it is
usually superseded by some kind of grass, for which it has prepared the
way by the ameliorating and renewing influence which it exerts upon the
soil.

=Value for Bee Pasture.=--All authorities are agreed as to the high
value of this plant as a honey producer. The claim has been made for it
that for such a use it is more valuable acre for acre than any ordinary
grain crop. By cutting a part of the crop before it comes into bloom,
the season of honey production may be prolonged from, say, July 1st
until some time in the autumn, as the part thus cut will come into bloom
after the blooms have left the plants that were cut. When not disturbed,
sweet clover yields honey in the interval between the blooming of the
basswood and the golden rod. The honey is of excellent quality. There
should be no good reasons, therefore, why bee-keepers should not sow the
seed in by and waste places. But the wisdom of growing it as a
honey-producing crop on valuable land where other honey crops, as alsike
and white clover, can be grown in good form may be questioned.

=Value as a Fertilizer.=--The high value of this plant as a fertilizer
and soil improver cannot be questioned. But whether it should ever be
sown for such a use will depend on the capacity of the soil to produce
other crops valuable for fertilizing and also more valuable for
producing forage or fodder. Where other clovers more useful can be
grown, also cow peas, soy beans and other legumes valuable for food
uses, it would seem unwise to sow sweet clover. This would restrict its
use, therefore, as a soil renovator; first, to soils too poor to grow
those useful legumes; second, to areas where the climate conditions will
not admit of the growth of these; and third, to areas from which the
surface soil has been removed, and which it is desirable to so
ameliorate and improve the soil thus laid bare that it could later be
covered with some more valuable cover crop. Under present conditions
this would restrict its growth for the purpose named to sandy and
gravelly soils, to certain areas in the semi-arid region east of the
Rocky Mountains, and to such small areas as the surface soil had been
removed from.

In the semi-arid region where crops of grain and also some varieties of
field corn can be grown successfully, but where the clovers are not
successful; it would seem practicable to sow a few pounds of sweet
clover seed per acre at the same time as the grains, and to plow under
the plants produced some time in the month of May the next season. The
clover thus buried could be at once followed by corn or potatoes, or,
indeed, by any kind of a cleaning crop. The high price of seed at
present practically forbids growing clover thus.

Whether sweet clover grown for renovating uses should be turned under
the season in which it has been sown will depend largely on the growth
that has been made. In many instances, the growth made is so rank as to
justify plowing it under the following autumn. In other instances,
better results will follow plowing it under the next season. It
frequently happens that the growth made is so rank that a strong plow
and also a strong team are necessary to do the work properly.

=Value on Alkali soils.=--This plant has been grown to some extent to
aid in removing alkali from soils superabundantly impregnated with the
same. It will grow, it is claimed, under certain conditions on such
soils so surcharged with alkali as to prohibit almost every other form
of vegetable growth. The extent to which it may be thus used profitably
had not yet been fully demonstrated. But where it can be grown on such
soils, the fact that it takes up and removes relatively large quantities
of alkali would appear to be well established.

=Destroying the Plants.=--Should the conditions be found so favorable to
the growth of the plant that it persists in growing where it is not
wanted, it will soon cease to appear, if prevented from going to seed.
Ordinarily, the blossoms appear only during the second year of growth.
If, therefore, the plants are cut off when in bloom, seed forming will
not only be prevented, but since sweet clover is a biennial, the plants
will die. When thus dealt with, the only source from which other plants
may come while extermination is being thus sought is from seed lodged in
the soil and still capable of germinating.



CHAPTER XII

MISCELLANEOUS VARIETIES OF CLOVER


In addition to the varieties of clover that have been discussed at some
length in previous chapters are a number the value of which may be
considerable to areas more or less local and limited. These include
Sainfoin, Egyptian clover, Yellow clover, Sand lucerne, Japanese clover,
Beggarweed and Seaside clover. Some of these, as Sainfoin and Buffalo
clover, have been in the country for several years, and yet but little
is known as to their behavior, except in very limited areas. Others, as
Buffalo clover, native to the country are thought to have merit, and yet
the degree of such merit does not appear to have been yet proved under
cultivation. The three varieties but recently introduced are thought to
have considerable promise for certain soils and climates to which they
have special adaptation, but sufficient trial has not been given them to
determine even approximately the measure of their worth to this country.
These varieties will now be discussed, but for the reasons stated above
it will be manifest that the discussion will of necessity be imperfect
and fragmentary in character.


SAINFOIN

Sainfoin (_Onobrychis sativa_) is a perennial, leguminous, clover-like
forage plant of the bean family. The word Sainfoin is equivalent to the
French words for sound or wholesome hay. It is also frequently called
Esparcette or Asperset, more especially in Germany. It is further known
in England by the name Cock's Head, French Grass and Medick Vetchling.
In some parts of France and Switzerland the name has been and probably
is yet applied to lucerne (_Medicago sativa_).

In its habit of growth it is more woody in the rootstock than clover and
more branched. It also grows to a greater average height. The stems,
which are covered with fine hairs, bear numerous leaves long and
pinnate. The blossoms are numerous and of an attractive, pinkish color,
brightening into a crimson tint. The seed pods are flattened from side
to side and wrinkled, and are also sickle-shaped. They bear but one
seed. The roots are strong and more or less branched.

Sainfoin, as already intimated, is perennial in its habit of growth.
When a field is once well set with the plants, it should continue to
produce crops for a decade, but will eventually be crowded out with
weeds or other grasses. It grows very early in the season, quite as
early, if not earlier, than alfalfa, and continues to grow until autumn.

The feeding value of sainfoin is much the same as that of alfalfa. It is
much esteemed where it can be grown for the production of pasture, of
soiling food, and also hay, valuable for enriching the land, through the
medium of the roots, and also when the tops are plowed under as green
manure.

Sainfoin is native throughout the whole of Central Europe and over
much of Siberia. Although native to the southern counties of England, it
does not appear to have been cultivated there before the year 1651, at
which time it is said to have been introduced from Flanders. From what
has been said with reference to the distribution of sainfoin in Europe
and Asia, it will be apparent that it is a hardy plant, which has
highest adaptation for climates temperate and mild to moderately cool.
Its hardihood has been shown by its surviving the winters in the
latitude of the St. Lawrence River, but the abundant snow covering then
provided should not be lost sight of.

[Illustration: Fig. 10. Sainfoin (_Onobrychis sativa_)
  Oregon Experiment Station]

Its adaptation to the United States does not appear to have been proved
yet, except in limited areas. In some of the Montana valleys good crops
have been grown with much success in many of those western valleys, and
even on the bench lands at the base of foothills. Nor would there seem
to be any good reasons for supposing that good crops could not be grown
in various parts of the United States where the soil is suitable.

In Canada, sainfoin has succeeded in Quebec. In trials made by the
author at the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph success was only
partial, but the trials were limited. There would seem to be no good
reasons why this plant should not succeed in many places in Canada where
limestone soils prevail.

This plant is best adapted to dry soils calcareous in their composition
and somewhat porous in character. This explains its great affinity for
the chalk soils which abound in the south of England. On the dry,
limestone soils of this country it ought to succeed. It has shown much
adaptation for the volcanic soils of the Western mountain region, where
it has been tried. On stiff clays it grows too slowly to be entirely
satisfactory. It ought not to be sown on soils wet or swampy in
character.

Since sainfoin is perennial in its habit of growth, and since, when once
well set, it will retain its hold upon the soil for several years, it is
not in the strict sense of the term a rotation plant. When it is grown,
however, it should be followed by crops which require large quantities
of nitrogen easily accessible, to enable them to complete their growth.
If this plant should ever be grown to any considerable extent in the
mountain States, much that has been said with reference to the place for
alfalfa in the rotation will also apply to sainfoin. (See page 135.)

It has been found more difficult to get a good stand of sainfoin plants
than of other varieties of the clover family. This is owing to the low
germinating power frequently found in the seed. The stand of plants is
frequently found to be too thin and scattering. Weeds, therefore, and
sometimes grasses are much liable to come into the soil occupied by the
sainfoin and to crowd the same. Because of this it is specially
important that sainfoin shall be sown on a clean seed-bed.

The seed is very frequently sown in the hull, and usually in the early
spring. But there would seem to be no reasons why the seed should not be
sown in the early autumn in localities where alfalfa can be sown thus.
(See page 145.) In the rough form, it is usually broadcasted by hand,
but would probably also feed through a seed drill. When sown apart from
the hull, the seed may be sown by the same methods as alfalfa. (See page
147.) In the rough form, from 3 to 5 bushels per acre are sown. In the
clean form, it is claimed that 40 pounds of seed should be sown, but
that amount of clean and good seed would seem to be excessive on
well-prepared land. The seed in the hull weighs 26 pounds per bushel.
The plan of sowing 2 to 3 pounds per acre of the seed of alsike clover
along with the sainfoin would doubtless be found helpful under some
conditions, as it would tend to thicken the crop, more especially the
first season.

Sainfoin is a good pasture plant when properly grazed. It does not
produce bloat in cattle or sheep as alfalfa does. In this fact is found
one of the strongest reason why it should be grown in areas where
alfalfa is wanted for pasture. It will furnish grazing about as early as
alfalfa, and considerably earlier than medium red clover.

This plant is more frequently grown for soiling food than for hay. For
the former use it has high adaptation, since it will furnish several
cuttings of soiling food per season. It will also furnish two cuttings
of hay, or one of hay and one of seed, and under some conditions more
than two cuttings can be obtained. In the latitude of Montreal it is
ready to be cut for hay during the early days of June. It is ready for
being cut when the blossoms begin to expand. Much care is necessary in
curing the hay, in order to prevent the too free shedding of the leaves.
The methods for making alfalfa hay will apply also to sainfoin.

Seed may be obtained from the first or second cutting of the crop. It is
usually obtained from the second cutting, as the yield is much larger
than that obtained from the first cutting. The author has not been able
to obtain any facts based on experience regarding the harvesting of the
seed crop under American field conditions. But the methods followed in
obtaining seed from alfalfa would probably also answer equally well for
sainfoin. Great care is necessary in handling the seed crop, owing to
the ease with which the seed shatters. Special pains are also necessary
to keep the germinating power of the seed from injury from overheating.
Nor does the seed seem able to retain germinating power as long as the
seeds of some other varieties of clover. In experiments conducted by
Professor C. A. Zavitz at the Ontario Experiment Station at Guelph in
1902 and 1903, the average yield per acre was 426.1 pounds.


EGYPTIAN CLOVER

Egyptian clover (_Trifolium Alexandrianum_) is more commonly known in
the Nile valley as Berseem. It is of at least three varieties. These are
the Muscowi, Fachl and Saida, all of which are more or less closely
related to medium red clover. The term _Alexandrianum_ as applied above
is somewhat misleading, as its growth is not specially identified with
Alexandria, nor is its growth in Egypt supposed to be of great
antiquity, since no trace of it is found upon the ancient monuments.

The Muscowi variety, which is commonly grown more especially in lower
Egypt, sometimes grows to the height of 5 feet and over, but usually it
is not more than half the height named. In its habit of growth it is
rather upright, like alfalfa, but the hollow stems are softer and more
succulent, and the blossoms occur on heads resembling those of clover,
but not so compactly formed, and they are white in color. The seeds bear
a close resemblance to those of crimson clover. The roots are much
shorter, but more spreading in their habit of growth than those of
alfalfa, and in Egyptian soils they bear small tubercles abundantly.
This variety, which is usually grown on land that can be irrigated at
any season, produces in some instances 5 cuttings in a season. The Fachl
variety is usually grown on land irrigated by the basin system; that is,
the system which covers the land with water but once a year, and for a
period more or less prolonged. But one crop a year is taken from such
land. The hay from this variety is heavier for the bulk than that of the
Muscowi. The Saida variety is of a lower habit of growth than the
Muscowi and has a longer tap root, which enables it to stand drought
better than the Muscowi. It is more commonly sown in Egypt southward
from Cairo.

All these varieties are annual. The period of growth covered by any one
of them is never more than 9 months, and usually not more than 6
months; that is to say, from October to March. The Muscowi variety
especially grows very rapidly.

Egyptian clover in all its varieties is pre-eminently a soiling plant.
It is sometimes pastured and is also made into hay. It is practically
the one fodder crop of Egypt, and is more commonly fed in the green
form. All kinds of stock are fond of it, and it is fed freely to horses,
donkeys and camels at labor, to cows in milk, and to cattle that are
being fattened. It also serves to keep Egyptian soils supplied with
nitrogen, for the support of crops grown on them in summer, especially
cotton, and various kinds of grain. Moreover, because of the frequency
of the cuttings, with the Muscowi variety, its growth tends very much to
check the growth of weeds.

Egyptian clover is not native to Egypt, but was introduced from some
country outside of Egypt, yet bordering on the Mediterranean. This, at
least, is the view presented in Bulletin No. 23, issued by the Bureau of
Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, from which
source much of what is written with reference to this plant has been
obtained. In Egypt more than 1,000,000 acres are grown annually. It is
also being tried, with much promise, in other portions of Northern
Africa, as Tunis and Algiers. It is also now being experimented with in
various parts of the Southern and Southwestern States.

Egyptian clover is only adapted to a warm climate. In those parts of the
United States which have a climate not unlike that of Egypt, in many
respects, as Florida, Southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, it may
have an important mission. It may yet be grown in these areas, or some
of them, where irrigation is practiced in conjunction with cotton, or
with certain of the cereals. If it can be thus grown, it will prove of
much value, as it would only occupy the land when not occupied by the
crops usually grown in summer, and it would bring much fertility to the
same, in addition to the forage provided. Since in Tunis it has been
found that the plants have not been killed by cold 2° below zero and in
Algiers 9° below that point, the hope would seem to be justifiable that
this clover may yet be grown much further north than the States named.
If grown thus, however, it should not be as a substitute for alfalfa,
but rather to occupy the ground in winter when not producing otherwise.
It may yet be found that the Saida variety may have adaptation for some
localities in the West where irrigation cannot be practiced. This clover
is not likely to render any considerable service to any part of Canada,
because of the lack of adaptation in the climate.

Egyptian clover has highest adaptation for deposit soils, such as are
made by the settling of silt held in solution by waters that overflow.
In these it will grow with vigor, though they rest upon coarse sand or
even upon gravel not too near the surface. Irrigating waters to some
extent are necessary to grow the plants in best form, although, as
previously intimated, the Saida variety may yet be grown without the aid
of such waters. It is the first crop sown on reclaimed alkaline lands,
and growing it on these tends to remove the alkali and to sweeten and
otherwise improve the soils.

The place for this plant in the rotation is readily apparent. Like
crimson clover, it is clearly a catch crop, as it were, and a winter
plant, but with the difference that it grows much more rapidly under
suitable conditions and furnishes much more food. The advantage of
growing it northward in the Western mountain valleys when sown in
spring, as intimated by the writer of the bulletin already referred to,
would seem to be at least problematical, since it could not be sown
early enough in the spring to produce a crop as early as alfalfa already
established. It would then be grown also as the crop of the season,
rather than as a catch crop. The place for Egyptian clover in the
rotation is clearly that of a winter crop, to provide soiling food for
stock and plant food for the land, which may be utilized by the summer
crop that follows.

In Egypt the seed is frequently sown on the silt deposited by the waters
that have subsided and before it would be dry enough to plow. At other
times, it is sowed on land stirred on the surface to a greater or less
depth, and sprouted through the aid of irrigating waters. In the valleys
of the West that preparation of the soil found suitable for alfalfa
would also, doubtless, be found suitable for this clover.

The seed is sown in the autumn in Egypt, usually in October, but the
season of sowing lasts from September to January, and some crops have
been obtained sown as late as April 1st, but when sown late, the number
of the cuttings is reduced and the occupancy of the soil by the clover
interferes with the growing of other crops. Under American conditions,
it will doubtless be found that the best season for sowing Egyptian
clover will be just after the removal of the crop that occupied the land
in summer. The seed is usually sowed by hand and without admixture, but
the Fachl variety is sown in some instances with wheat or barley when
seed is wanted. The methods of sowing found suitable for alfalfa would
also seem to be proper for sowing Egyptian clover. (See page 78.) As
much as one bushel of seed is sown per acre, but it is thought that a
less amount will suffice under good methods of tillage.

Egyptian clover is sometimes pastured, but it has higher adaptation to
soiling, because of the softness of the stems. When pastured reasonably
close, cropping would probably be preferable, as there would then be
less waste from the treading of the plants. Nevertheless, in Egypt
considerable quantities of the hay are stored for feeding in the summer
months when green fodder is scarce.

Egyptian clover is sometimes made into hay, but it is not essentially a
hay plant. Much care is necessary when it is being cured to prevent loss
in the leaves, and when cured the stems are so brittle that it is
difficult to prevent waste in handling the hay. It is pre-eminently a
soiling crop, and the greater portion is fed in the green form. From 4
cuttings of the Muscowi variety as much as 25 to 30 tons of green
fodder are harvested, and about 10 tons are produced by 2 cuttings of
the Saida variety.

Egyptian clover has not been grown sufficiently long in this country to
justify giving information based upon American experience that could be
taken as authoritative, with reference to the best methods of harvesting
the seed crop. There would seem to be no reasons, however, to suppose
that the methods followed in harvesting alfalfa could not be followed
with equal advantage in harvesting Egyptian clover. Nor can anything be
said as yet with reference to which cutting of the series will furnish
the best seed crop.

The best service, probably, which this crop can render to the United
States is the enrichment of the soils on which the plants are grown. As
the same bacteria which inoculate alfalfa soils will not answer for
Egyptian clover, and as the requisite bacteria may not be found in soils
where it is desirable to grow this clover, the conclusion that it will
not grow sufficiently well in certain soils on which it is being tried
should not be reached until the question relating to the presence or
absence of the proper bacteria has been settled. If necessary to
introduce bacteria from Egypt, the obstacles in the way of such
introduction would not be at all serious, if undertaken by the
Department of Agriculture.


YELLOW CLOVER

Yellow clover (_Medicago lupulina_) is to be carefully distinguished
from Hop clover (_Medicago procumbens_), which it resembles so closely
in the form of the leaves and the color of the bloom as to have given
rise in some instances to the interchangeable use of the names. The
latter is so named from the resemblance of the withered head when ripe
to a bunch of hops. Its growth has been almost entirely superseded by
_Medicago lupulina_, since the other variety was low in production and
also in nutrition. _Medicago lupulina_ is also called Black Medick,
Nonesuch, Black Nonesuch and Hop Trefoil. In both England and Germany it
is now more commonly grown than white clover. It is more or less
recumbent in its habit of growth, but the stems do not root as do the
runners in the small white variety. The stems, though tender in the
early spring, become woody as the season advances. The flowers, as the
name would indicate, are yellow, and the plants produce seed numerously.
The roots, like those of the small white variety, are more fibrous than
in some of the larger varieties.

Yellow clover is perennial. Owing to the power which the plants have to
multiply through rooting and re-seeding, they can stay indefinitely in
congenial soils. The growth is vigorous in the early part of the season,
but less so later, and with the advance of the season the herbage
produced becomes more woody in character.

This plant furnishes considerable pasture during the spring months, but
in the summer and autumn it makes but little growth. Though palatable
early in the season, it is less so later. Nevertheless, it may be made
to add materially to the produce of pastures in which it grows. It also
aids in fertilizing the soil, though probably not quite to the same
extent as white clover.

Yellow clover is indigenous to Europe. It is grown to a considerable
extent in pastures in certain areas in Great Britain, France, Germany
and other countries. It has highest adaptation for climates that are
moist and temperate. Although this plant is not extensively grown in the
United States, it would seem probable that it will grow at least
reasonably well in a majority of the States. The exceptions will be
those lacking in moisture in the absence of irrigation. It will grow
best in those that more properly lie within the clover belt; that is, in
those that lie northward. It grows with much vigor in Oregon and
Washington west of the Cascade Mountains. In Canada, yellow clover will
grow with much vigor in all areas susceptible of cultivation, unless on
certain of the western prairies.

Yellow clover has highest adaptation for calcareous soils. In certain
parts of England it has grown so vigorously on soils rich in lime as
almost to assume the character of a troublesome weed. It will grow well
on all clay loam soils, and reasonably well on stiff clays, the climatic
conditions being suitable. It has greater power to grow on dry soils
than the small white variety.

Since yellow clover is usually grown as an adjunct to permanent
pastures, it can scarcely be called a rotation plant. But, like other
clovers, it enriches the soil, and, therefore, should be followed by
crops that are specially benefited by such enrichment, as, for
instance, the small cereal grains.

Yellow clover when sown is usually sown with other grass mixtures, and
along with grain as a nurse crop; hence, that preparation of the soil
suitable for the nurse crop will also be found suitable for the clover.
It is, moreover, a hardy plant, insomuch that in some instances, if the
seed is scattered over unplowed surfaces, as those of pastures, in the
early spring, a sufficient number of plants will be obtained to
eventually establish the clover through self-seeding.

The seed is usually sown in the early spring, but in mild latitudes it
may also be sown in the early autumn. It may be sown by the same methods
as other clovers. (See page 267.) It is usually sown to provide pasture,
the seed being mixed with that of other pasture plants before being
sown. As the plants, like those of the small white variety, have much
power to increase rather than decrease in pastures, it is not necessary
to sow large quantities of seed, not more usually than 1 pound to the
acre. But should the crops be wanted for seed, then not fewer than 3 to
5 pounds per acre should be sown and without admixture with other
grasses or clovers. When the plants once obtain a footing on congenial
soils, there is usually enough of seed in the soil to make a sufficient
stand of the plants in pastures without sowing any seed, but since the
seed is usually relatively cheap, where an insufficient supply in the
soil is suspected, more or less seed should be sown.

Since the stems of yellow clover plants become tough as the season of
growth becomes considerably advanced, where it forms a considerable
proportion of the pasture the aim should be to graze most heavily during
the early part of the season. The plants do not make much growth during
the autumn. It would probably be correct to say that it can grow under
conditions more dry than are suitable for white clover, and,
consequently, it is more uniformly prominent in evidence in permanent
pastures when it has become established.

Yellow clover is not a really good hay plant, owing to its lack of
bulkiness. But in some soils its presence may add considerably to the
weight of a crop of hay, of which it is a factor.

This plant produces seed freely. The seeds are dark in color and weigh
60 pounds to the bushel. The seed matures early, usually in June or
July, according to locality. The methods of harvesting, threshing and
preparing the seed for market are substantially the same as those
adapted in handling small white clover. (See page 272.)

While yellow clover is not the equal of the small white clover in
adaptation to our conditions, it would seem that there are no reasons
why it should not be sown to a greater extent than it is sown under
American conditions. A plant that is so hardy, that provides a
considerable quantity of reasonably good pasture, that stores nitrogen
in the soil, and that, moreover, does not stay in the soil to the extent
of injuring crops that follow the breaking up of the pastures, should
certainly be encouraged to grow.


SAND LUCERNE

Sand Lucerne (_Medicago media_), sometimes designated _Medicago
falcata_, is probably simply a variety of the common alfalfa (_Medicago
sativa_). Some botanists, however, look upon these as two distinct
species. Others believe that _Medicago sativa_, with blossoms ranging
from blue to violet purple, and _Medicago falcata_, with yellow
blossoms, are two distinct species, while _Medicago media_, with
blossoms ranging from bluish and purple to lemon yellow, is a hybrid
between these. The name Sand Lucerne has doubtless been given to this
plant because of the power which it has to grow in sandy soils.

Sand lucerne is so nearly like common alfalfa in appearance and habits
of growth, that until the blossoming season, careless observers cannot
distinguish between the plants. (See page 114.) Sand lucerne, however,
has a more spreading habit of growth than common alfalfa, the seed-pods
are less coiled and the seeds are lighter. The root system is strong and
the roots are probably more branched than those of ordinary alfalfa.
Under Michigan experience, given in Bulletin No. 198 of the Michigan
Experiment Station, it has shown considerably higher adaptation to
light, sandy and gravelly soils than the former. The feeding properties
of sand lucerne would not seem to be far different from those of common
alfalfa (see page 119), but it is claimed that the former is
considerably less liable to produce bloat in cattle and sheep than the
latter.

Sand lucerne is probably native to Europe and Asia. Some attention is
given to growing it in Germany, the principal source from which comes
supplies of seed at the present time. It was introduced into Michigan by
the experiment station of that State in 1897, and its behavior in
several trials made to grow it on sandy and gravelly soils in various
places, has, on the whole, been encouraging.

Since this variety, like the Turkestan, being considerably hardier than
common alfalfa, can undoubtedly be grown further north than the latter,
there would seem to be no reasons at the same time why sand lucerne
would not grow satisfactorily on sandy soils that lie far south, but
this does not seem as yet to have been proved by actual demonstration.
It is possible, therefore, that this plant may render considerable
service to areas scattered over considerable portions of the United
States and Canada, in which the soil is light.

While sand lucerne has higher adaptation than common alfalfa for sandy
and gravelly soils, it does not follow that it has equal adaptation for
being grown on ordinary alfalfa soils. No advantage, however, would
result from growing sand lucerne where common alfalfa will grow equally
well, as it is not superior to the latter as a food, if, indeed, it is
equal to the same, and there would be a distinct disadvantage in the
greater cost of the seed of sand lucerne.

Sand lucerne is not any more a rotation plant than the common variety.
In fact, it is even less so, since it would not be practicable to
introduce it into short rotations when grown in northerly latitudes, as
it does not reach a maximum growth for several years after the seed has
been sown. But in mild latitudes, it may be found practicable to
introduce it into short rotations, like other alfalfa (see page 135),
and on land that is too sandy to grow the common variety in the best
form.

Much of what has been said about the preparation of the soil for common
alfalfa will equally apply to the preparation of the same for sand
lucerne. (See page 137.) But when the latter is sown on sandy or
gravelly land, a moist condition of the seed-bed at the time of sowing
is even more important than when sowing common alfalfa under ordinary
conditions.

The same methods of sowing the seed will be in order as are suitable for
sowing common alfalfa in any particular locality. (See page 147.) This
will mean that in Northern areas sand lucerne can best be sown in the
spring and as early as the danger from frost is over, that the plants
may get as much benefit as possible from the moisture in the soil before
dry weather begins. It will also mean that if sown southward in the
autumn, it may in some instances be necessary to wait longer for the
sandy soils on which the seed is sown to become sufficiently moist to
sprout the seed than for such a condition in soils on which common
alfalfa is usually sown. The amounts of seed to sow will also be
practically the same. (See page 152.)

The adaptation of sand lucerne for providing pasture is as high, if not,
indeed, higher, than that of common alfalfa, since it is said that it
has less tendency to produce bloat in cattle and sheep, and it is not
so easily destroyed, at least in Northern areas, by grazing. In
providing pasture, its higher adaptation is in furnishing the same for
cattle, swine and horses.

With ample moisture, even as far north as Lansing, Michigan, three crops
of hay may ordinarily be looked for. At the Michigan Experiment Station,
sand lucerne sown in 1897 yielded cured: In 1898, at the rate of 6800
pounds per acre; in 1899, 10,580 pounds; in 1900, 12,310 pounds; and in
1901, 13,839 pounds. The methods of cutting and curing are the same as
for other varieties of alfalfa. (See page 170.) The quality of the hay
is not far different from that of common alfalfa. If there is a
difference, it would, perhaps, be a little against the sand lucerne,
owing to the nature of the land producing it. For soiling food, it may
be handled in the same way as common alfalfa. (See page 166.)

No further information would seem to be available with reference to the
production of seed in the United States than the statement that the
efforts to grow it in Michigan had not been altogether successful. The
question thus raised has an important bearing on the future growth of
the plant, as, if seed is to be imported from Europe when sand lucerne
is to be sown, the expense of securing seed is likely to militate
against extending its growth. It is probable, however, that this
difficulty will be overcome through the more perfect acclimation of the
plants in the North, or by growing seed from the same in Western areas
which have shown higher adaptation to the production of alfalfa seed.

The value of sand lucerne in fertilizing sandy and gravelly soils in
this country may yet be very considerable. Its value in putting humus
into the same may prove equally high. This value will arise chiefly from
its greater ability to grow on such soils than various other legumes.
When sown primarily for such a use, heavy seeding would seem to be
preferable to ordinary seeding.


JAPANESE CLOVER

The United States Department of Agriculture has quite recently
introduced a variety of clover known botanically as _Lespedeza bicolor_.
In 1902 small lots of seed were distributed to ascertain the value of
the plant grown under American conditions. Sufficient time has not yet
elapsed to prove its value, but the indications encourage the belief
that it will be of some agricultural value under certain conditions.

This variety of clover is more erect and less branched in its habit of
growth than the Japanese variety _Lespedeza striata_. Under Michigan
conditions it was found to grow to the height of 3 feet on sandy soil
and to about half that height on clay soil, the seed having been sown
about the middle of May. The stalks are about the same in structure as
those of alfalfa, and like alfalfa they do not lodge readily. The leaves
are ovate in form and of a pea-green tint. The seed is formed in pods
resembling those of lentils, only smaller. The seeds are larger than
those of crimson clover and are oblong in shape. In color they are
mottled brown, yellow and green. The roots in the Michigan test produced
nodules freely and without inoculating the soil by any artificial means.
The plants in the same tests were killed to the ground by early October
frosts.

This variety, like that grown so freely in the Southern States, is an
annual. In the absence of experience in growing it under varied
conditions, it would be premature to dwell upon its value. If it should
grow readily on sandy land, as the Michigan test would seem to indicate,
it would render substantial service in fertilizing such soils. In the
grass garden of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C., its
behavior has been such as to encourage making further tests.


FLORIDA CLOVER

Florida clover (_Desmodium tortuosum_) is sometimes grown both for hay
and pasture, more especially in the Gulf States. It has been designated
botanically _Desmodium molle_, and is also known by the common names
Beggar Weed, Giant Beggar Weed, Beggar Ticks and Tickweed. The name
Florida Clover has been given to it because of its prevalence on the
light soils of Florida. The name "beggar" has probably been applied to
this plant because of its relation to poverty in soils, in which it is
more commonly grown, and the name "ticks" from the clinging habit of the
seed-pods to surfaces with which they come in contact.

Beggar Weed is an erect and branching plant, which grows from 2 to 10
feet high. The branches are woody in character, especially in the lower
parts, which prevents close cropping by animals grazing on the plants.
The trifoliate leaves are numerous, especially on the upper portions.
The panicle is erect and is considerably branched. The pods are prickly
and have many joints. These break asunder when matured, and are
frequently distributed by adhering to the covering of animals and the
clothing of men. The strong, spreading roots have much power to gather
food in the soil and also to enrich the same by means of the tubercles
formed on the roots.

[Illustration: Fig. 11. Beggar Weed or Florida Clover
  (_Desmodium tortuosum_) (Flower and Seed Stems)
  North Carolina Experiment Station]

This plant grows only in warm weather, and it is able to withstand much
drought. Its value for pasture and hay would seem to depend considerably
on the stage of growth at which it is grazed or harvested for hay. When
nearing maturity, stock do not relish it much, either as pasture or hay.
It is frequently classed as a weed, but in certain poor soils it has
been deemed worthy of cultivation.

Beggar weed is native to the West India Islands and also, it is thought,
to Southern Florida. In 1879 seeds were distributed by the Department of
Agriculture. It is now grown more or less in the wild or cultivated form
in all the Gulf States. While it may be successfully grown as far north
as the Ohio River, it is not probable that it will be sown far north of
any of the Gulf States, since other fodder plants more valuable in
producing food can be grown to supply the wants of live stock. At the
Minnesota University Experiment Farm, the author sowed seed in May.
The plants came into bloom in September, but did not mature any seed.

[Illustration: Fig. 12. Beggar Weed
  (_Desmodium tortuosum_) (Root System)
  North Carolina Experiment Station]

Beggar weed will grow on almost any kind of soil reasonably free from an
excess of ground moisture. Its power to grow on poor and light soils,
even light enough to lift with the wind, is very considerable. Its
highest use will probably be found on soils so light and sterile that
better forms of useful vegetation are not easily grown on them.

It can scarcely be called a rotation plant, since it more commonly grows
in the wild form, and on lands so poor as to be considered unprofitable
for regular cropping. But when cultivated, it should be followed by some
crop that can make a good use of the nitrogen left in the soil in the
tubercles formed on the roots of the beggar weed plants.

The soil does not, as a rule, require deep stirring when preparing it
for beggar weed. This fact finds demonstration in the ability of the
plants to re-seed the ground when grown for grazing.

The seed is usually sown in the Gulf States late in March or early in
April. It germinates slowly, and the plants make the most vigorous
growth after the weather becomes warm. The seed is more commonly
scattered broadcast, but may be drilled in, and at distances that will
or will not admit of cultivation as may be desired. Thick seeding is
preferable to prevent coarseness and woodiness in the growth of the
plants. Not less than 10 pounds of hulled seed per acre should be sown
in the broadcast form when sown for hay. When sown in drills, less seed
is required, but usually the seed is sown broadcast. In the hulled form,
in which the seed is more commonly sold, according to Professor H. H.
Hume, the measured bushel weighs 60 to 64 pounds, and with the hulls on,
from 10 to 40 pounds, the average weight, as purchased by dealers, being
about 20 pounds. The cleaned seed bears considerable resemblance to
clover seed.

All kinds of farm stock, as cattle, horses, mules, sheep and even swine,
are said to do well when grazing on beggar-weed pastures in the summer
and autumn. They do not usually graze it closely after it has been well
started, owing to the woody character of the stems. When thus cropped
back, it starts out afresh, and thus continues to produce grazing until
the arrival of frost. It is said that the pasture is of but little value
in winter. One strong point, however, in favor of such pastures, is the
ability of the plants to re-seed the land when not grazed too closely,
and thus to perpetuate the grazing from year to year.

No little diversity of opinion exists as to the value of this plant for
producing hay. Some growers speak highly of its palatability and
nutrition. Others speak of it as being of very little value as a hay
plant. This difference in opinion is doubtless due largely to cutting
the crop at different stages of growth. If allowed to become too
advanced before it is cut, the woody character of the hay would
doubtless make it unpalatable, whereas, if cut early, at least as early
as the showing of the first blooms, if not, indeed, earlier, it would be
eaten with a much greater relish. The yields of hay are said to usually
exceed 2 tons per acre.

The seed matures in September and October. The methods of saving the
seed have usually been of a somewhat primitive character, as by hand
when saved in small quantities. But there would seem to be no reason why
the seed crop could not be harvested by the binder.

Where alfalfa or cow peas can be successfully grown, either crop would
be preferable. But on some soils these are not a success, especially
when the first attempts are made to grow crops. The choice of hay may be
one between a crop of beggar weed and no crop at all. All are agreed as
to the renovation which it brings to soils; hence, when grown or allowed
to grow on unproductive soil for a few years and then plowed under, the
soil becomes productive. Since it grows late rather than early in the
season where the seed is in the land, it will not interfere with the
growth of the corn, but will come on later, and thus exert a beneficial
influence on the soil. But the fact should not be overlooked that beggar
weed once in the land has considerable power to stay there. In other
words, like sweet clover, it has some of the characteristics of a weed.


BUFFALO CLOVER

Buffalo clover (_Trifolium stoloniferum_) is a native species procumbent
in its habit of growth. The leaves are most abundant at the base of the
plants. The flower heads, about an inch in diameter, are rose colored,
and rise to the height of about one foot from the ground.

This variety, said to be perennial in its habit of growth, is probably
the same as _Trifolium reflexum_, said to be biennial in Kansas. Plants
are found growing wild in prairies, between forests, and in open
woodlands, from Kentucky on the east, to Kansas on the west. It is
thought that this clover would repay cultivation, but the author has not
been able to get any information bearing upon its behavior under
cultivation.


SEASIDE CLOVER

Seaside clover (_Trifolium invulneratum_) has rendered some service to
agriculture in what is known as the "Great Basin," which includes parts
of Oregon and Nevada. In Bulletin No. 15, Bureau of Plant Industry,
issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, it is referred to
as one of the most promising species for cultivation in that area. Under
the influence of irrigation it has spread, in one instance cited, into
sage brush soil, and there, along with timothy and red top, has aided in
producing fine crops. In, low, swampy, non-alkaline areas, it often
yields from 1/2 to 1-1/4 tons of hay per acre. It has been estimated
that with correct conditions it would be found about equal in producing
power and feeding value to alsike clover. It is at least questionable,
however, if it is likely to supersede to any considerable degree the
varieties already under general cultivation.



INDEX

  Alfalfa
    discussion of  114-193
    described  114
    distribution  120
    soils  129
    place in rotation  135
    preparing the soil  137
    sowing  145
    cultivating  154
    pasturing  155
    as soiling food  166
    harvesting for hay  170
    storing  172
    securing seed  179
    renewing  184
    sources of injury  187
    as a fertilizer  191

  Alsike clover
    discussion of  194-217
    described  194
    distribution  197
    soils  199
    place in rotation  201
    preparing the soil  202
    sowing  204
    pasturing  208
    harvesting for hay  210
    securing seed  212
    renewing  216

  Bloating  94

  Buffalo clover
    discussion of  344

  Burr clover
    discussion of  291-299
    described  291
    distribution  293
    soils  293
    place in the rotation  294
    preparing the soil  295
    sowing  295
    pasturing  297
    harvesting for hay  297
    securing seed  297
    renewing  298
    as a fertilizer  298

  Clover
    introduction  1-5
    definition  1
    varieties  2
    distinguishing characteristics  3
    plan of discussion  4

  Clover, general principles for growing
    discussion of  6-56
    adaptation in  6
    place in the rotation  7
    preparing the soil  11
    fertilizers  13
    seasons for sowing  16
    methods of sowing  18
    depth to bury the seed  21
    sowing alone or in combinations  22
    with or without a nurse crop  25
    amounts of seed to sow  27
    pasturing  29
    harvesting  31
    storing  33
    feeding  35
    renewing  37
    as soil improvers  38
    as a weed destroyer  43
    clover sickness  45
    possible improvement in  46
    bacteria and clovers  47

  Clovers, synonyms
    Alexandrian  322
    Alsace  194
    Aspercet  317
    Berseem  322
    Beggar ticks  338
    Beggar weed  338
    Black Medic  329
    Black Nonesuch  329
    Bokhara  300
    Branching  114
    Broad-leaved  57
    Burgundy  114
    California  291
    Chilian  114
    Cocks head  317
    Cow clover  218
    Cow grass  218
    Creeping Trifolium  258
    Dutch  258
    Elegant  194
    Esparcette  317
    Fachl  323
    French clover  338
    French grass  317
    German  238
    German mammoth  238
    Giant beggar weed  338
    Giant  218
    Honeysuckle  258
    Hop  328
    Hop trefoil  329
    Hybrid  194
    Italian  238
    Large  218
    Lucerne (Alfalfa)  114
    Mammoth  57
    Meadow  218
    Meadow trefoil  57
    Medick vetchling  317
    Mexican  114
    Minnesota  118
    Monthly  114
    Muscowi  323
    Nonesuch  329
    Pea vine  218
    Perennial  114
    Perennial hybrid  194
    Perennial red  218
    Pod  194
    Red perennial meadow  118
    Rhenish  218
    Saida  323
    Sand Lucerne  118
    Saplin  218
    Shamrock  258
    Sicilian  114
    Soiling  218
    Spotted Medick  291
    Stem  114
    Swedish  194
    Styrian  114
    Tall  218
    Tickweed  338
    Tree  300
    Turkestan  118
    Wavy stemmed  218
    White Dutch  258
    White Melilot  300
    White Swedish  194
    White trefoil  258
    Winter  238
    Yellow  291
    Zigzag  218

  Crimson clover
    discussion of  238-257
    described  238
    distribution  241
    soils  244
    place in the rotation  245
    preparing the soil  248
    sowing  250
    pasturing  252
    harvesting for hay  253
    securing seed  254
    renewing  256
    facts regarding  256

  Dodder  190

  Egyptian clover
    discussion of  322-328

  Florida clover
    discussion of  338-344

  Grasshoppers  189

  Hoven  94

  Inoculation, soil  53

  Japan clover
    discussion of  279-290
    described  279
    distribution  282
    soils  283
    place in the rotation  284
    preparing the soil  285
    sowing  285
    pasturing  287
    harvesting for hay  288
    securing seed  289
    renewing  290
    new variety  337

  Mammoth clover
    discussion of  218-237
    described  218
    distribution  220
    soils  222
    place in the rotation  224
    preparing the soil  226
    sowing  227
    pasturing  231
    harvesting for hay  233
    securing seed  234
    renewing  236
    compared with medium red  237

  Medium red clover
    discussion of  57-113
    described  57
    distribution  61
    soils  65
    place in the rotation  70
    preparing the soil  74
    sowing  75
    pasturing  91
    harvesting for hay  95
    storing  100
    securing seed  103
    renewing  109
    as a fertilizer  110

  Micro-organisms  48

  Nitragin  53

  Nodules in clover plants  49

  Root tubercles  50

  Sand Lucerne
    discussion of  333-337

  Sainfoin
    discussion of  316-322

  Seaside clover
    discussion of  345

  Sweet clover
    discussion of  300-315
    described  300
    distribution  303
    soils  305
    place in the rotation  306
    preparing the soil  307
    sowing  308
    pasturing  309
    harvesting for hay  310
    securing seed  311
    renewing  311
    value for bee pasture  312
    as a fertilizer  313
    value on alkali soils  314
    destroying the plants  314

  Tubercles, root  50

  Weeds troublesome  235

  White clover
    discussion of  258-278
    described  258
    distribution  261
    soils  264
    place in the rotation  265
    preparing the soil  267
    pasturing  270
    harvesting for hay  271
    securing seed  273
    renewing  276
    for lawns  277
    as a honey plant  278

  Yellow clover
    discussion of  328-332


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Transcriber's Notes:

List of Illustrations: The number '2' was missing before 'Medium Red'.
Changed.

Page 53: The term 'nitragin' though an odd spelling and is capitalized
elsewhere, as it is a commercial name. Unchanged.

Page 60: The term 'adap s' is a typo for 'adapts'. Changed.

Page 69: The term 'throgh cropping' is a typo for 'through cropping'.
Changed.

Page 100: The phrase 'skilled workmen' is a typo for 'skilled workman'.
Changed.

Page 103: The term 'pollenization' may be a substitute for 'pollenation'
or 'pollination'. Unchanged.

Page 122: The term 'Sask' is apparently a substitute or abbreviation
here for the province of 'Saskatchewan'.

Page 124: The phrase 'western alleys' is a typo for western valleys.
Changed.

Page 124: The phrase 'largely de-depend' is a typo for 'largely depend'.
Changed.

Page 189: The phrase 'many instance' is a typo for 'many instances'.
Changed.

Page 197: The phrase 'with beekeepers' changed to 'with bee-keepers' to
be consistent with two other occurrences.

Page 229: The term 'Seee page 78' is a typo for 'See page 78'. Changed.

Page 309: The phrase 'ground through self-feeding' is a typo for 'ground
through self-seeding'. Changed.

Page 317: The term 'Asperset' is spelled 'Aspercet' in the index.
Unchanged. Couldn't determine correct spelling.

Page 326: The phrase 'it it clearly a catch crop' is a typo for 'it is
clearly a catch crop'. Changed.

Index Page 349: Although the term 'Sanfoin' is an acceptable alternate
spelling for 'Sainfoin', it doesn't match other occurrences in this
text. Changed.

Several instances of comma and periods either missing or interchanged in
original text have been fixed without listing each. They are obvious
errors.

Various: The term 'midsummer' is also spelled 'mid-summer' in this book.
Unchanged.

End of Transcriber's Notes.





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