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White Ladino Clover (Trifolium repens)

Plant Characteristics: Short, sod forming and usually spread by stolons. Leaves are smooth with the presence of the V water mark. Leaves more rounded than arrowleaf clover. Types: Wild type (small leaves), common type (intermediate leaves), and Ladino (large leaves)

Establishment: Late maturing with high reseeding potential. It is usually a long-lived perennial in the northern part of the state and short-lived perennial (annual) in the southern part of the state. White clover may be seeded directly into a prepared seedbed or seeded directly into an established grass sod. In mixtures, plant at a rate of 2 to 3 lb/ac of white clover seed and 4 to 5 lb/ac when planting alone at 1/4 to 1/2-inch depth. White clover should be planted between September and October. It can be overseeded in pastures between November and December or February and March. White clover prefers loam and clay-loam soils, but it is well adapted to wet clay bottom soils. Grows well in other cool-season perennial grasses (tall fescue/orchardgrass) and dallisgrass. Not recommended in a mixture for bermudagrass or bahiagrass. White clover is susceptible to sclerotinia, crown and stem rot, rhizoctonia, and fusarium root rot. Nematodes could be a problem. Most affected by root-knot nematodes, but also susceptible to stem nematode, and clover cyst nematode.

Fertilization: White clover has a low tolerance to salinity. Soil should be lime is pH is below 6. Highly responsive to K. Starter fertilizer application of up to 20-60-20 lb per acre will often assist in white clover establishment. Clover stands should be fertilized annually according to soil test recommendations. In the absence of a soil test and assuming a medium-fertility soil, apply 0-60-145 lb/ac.

Grazing/Hay Management: White clover productivity is observed from March to June and from October to November. Production is 2 to 4 tons/ac. White clover should be rotationally grazed. Small acreages can be limit-grazed and/or creep-grazed. In order to use the white clover as a protein and energy supplement, livestock should be allowed to graze only 1 to 2 hours each day. This will allow for optimum utilization of the white clover pasture. In a continuous grazing system, graze white clover when it reaches 6 inches and to a minimum height of 2 inches at intervals of 15-to 30 days.

Forage Quality: Excellent forage quality; high protein and digestibility. White clover has medium to high bloat potential when grown alone. It is usually recommended as a mixture with one or more grasses for pasture. CP ranges from 12 to 23%, ADF from 24 to 32%, NDF from 37 to 56%, and TDN from 70 to 808% depending of the amount of white clover present in the grass/legume mixture.

Varieties/Cultivars: Durana, Patriot, Old white dutch, Ladino, Osceola, and Regal.

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Portrait of Dr. Rocky Lemus
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