Red Clover is a deep rooting legume and is valuable for improving soil fertility. The Red Clover flower is highly attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. The plants can ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air which is stored in small pink nodules on the roots. Nitrogen is released from the roots when the plant is dug into the soil providing nutrients for the next crop.
Use as a Green Manure
Red Clover is used as a Green Manure by recovering Nitrogen from the air and releasing this to be used in the next crop when dug into the ground. The plants should be cut down before the seed sets while the stems are still soft to allow quicker decomposition. The green plants should be dug into the soil to a depth of about 15cm.
The Red Clover flowers are very attractive to Bees and other beneficial insect pollinators.
Suits most soil types with a preference for Loams and Sandy soils. Red Clover can tolerate poorly drained areas.
Sowing and Germination
The Red Clover seeds can be sown late March to mid – September, onto bare ground that has been worked into a fine tilth. Sow thinly at 2-3 gms/sq metre by broadcasting evenly onto the soil where the clover is to grow. Lightly cover with no more than 5mm soil. The seeds can also be sown into an area where grass is established providing the grass has been thinned with a rake to expose a good area of bare soil. The seeds should germinate in 14-21 days given the correct climatic conditions of warmth and moisture. In dry periods the seed area may have to be watered until the seeds are established.