Alsike Clover


Alsike clover is an introduced, short-lived, non-creeping perennial with a growth habit similar to red clover. It is not commonly used in the arid Southwest. It prefers moist environments but needs full sun. In general Alsike Clover needs a minimum of 18″ of precipitation and cannot tolerate drought but it can take a bit of waterlogging. Alsike clover is adapted to a wide range of soil types and grows well in northern latitudes and at high elevations. It survives severe winters and performs best where summers are cool. It grows well on soils that are too acidic for red clover (pH < 6.0) and can tolerate more alkalinity than most clovers.It is a many-stemmed clover growing 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet high, much like red and white clovers. Its stems and leaves are not hairy. Its leaves, like those of all other clovers, are made up of 3 leaflets grouped at the ends of the long leafstalks.There are no crescents in the leaflets. Its flowers, borne in rather compact, stalked heads, are usually pink but range from red to white. Its seeds are smaller than those of red clover and are dark yellow-green. Tillers grow profusely from the crown meaning that it spreads well.

Alsike clover is used for hay, pasture, and soil improvement. Alsike clover is seldom grown by itself but it does grow well in mixtures with grasses. Grass/alsike clover mixtures are easier to harvest for hay because the grass holds the clover more upright. Normally only one cutting can be harvested for hay in a season. Many wildlife species use legumes and are attracted to the early green-up to help them recover from the stress of winter. Alsike clover is not particularly noted for providing wildlife cover or food. The flowers are especially attractive to bees, especially honey bees for the nectar and pollen.


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