White clover is a perennial plant that spreads with stems attached to the soil (called stolon’s), which grow and form new roots and plants. This is its main mechanism for survival, and it does not need to set seed. Stolon growth and spread is maximized when soil temperatures are mild to warm (spring), soils are moist and fertile, and plenty of sunlight reaches the soil surface.
Sow with compatible grass species. (Meadow Fescue is more compatible than cocksfoot)
Grass species and varieties that create dense a dense sward are least conductive to clover growth, tetraploid ryegrasses allow for better clover development due to a more open sward, than diploids.
A high clover seed rate or low grass seed rate improves the establishment and density of clover. But a sward managed correctly to encourage clover stolon establishment can compensate for a poor initial clover establishment.
A successful clover establishment is still dependant on a good initial sowing rate. A seed mixture containing 2-3kg /ha of clover with 18 to 24kg/ha of perennial ryegrass should be the aim.
Clover requires sowing at no more than 10mm. (onto a Firm and Fine seed bed).
Target of 150 white clover plants per square metre, three months after sowing. At twelve months developing to a 30% ground cover.
Early season sowing is best, as this allows the plant to build up reserves for the winter. Rather than a backend sowing.
Direct sowing rather than undersown with a cereal.
Soil nutrients (P, K, S) and pH( 6 and above) need to be maintained at good levels for these clovers to compete with grasses. High use of nitrogen (200 kg N/ha/yr.) can reduce clover content.
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