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Rose Clover (Trifolium hirtum)

Plant Characteristics: Self-reseeding winter annual with rose-colored flowers. Leaflets are obovate, pale green, usually marked with pale crescents bordered by brownish-red lines, though cultivars differ in form and position of markings. Stems are very hairy and pale green with hairy stipules.

Establishment: Rose clover is more adapted to the central and southern part of the state. Good tolerance to drought conditions. It should be planted in between September 10 and October 20 at a rate of 15 to 20 lb/ac for dense pure stands. It has a good reseeding potential. Disease is not usually a problem. It is commonly sown in mixture with crimson clover and subterranean clover in order to exploit different levels of soil fertility where they are planted.

Fertilization: Tolerant to low fertility. Tolerance to pH ranges from 5.5 to 8.3 but best adaptation is between a pH of 6.8. Rose clover is subject to Fe chlorosis on strongly alkaline soil and to Al toxicity on strongly acid soil. It can have a good response to P and K in low fertility soils.

Grazing/Hay Management: Can be used for hay or pasture. Performs very well under continuous grazing until maturity is reached, but recommended on a rotational grazing. If natural reseeding is part of the management process, remove the livestock by mid-April. Most of it growth occurs between February and April. Yields range from 1.5 to 2.5 tons/ac.

Forage Quality: No bloating has been observed. Forage quality is comparable to arrowleaf clover.

Varieties/Cultivars: Early-flowering: Hykon and Kondinin. Late-flowering: Wilton and Overton R-18. Later-flowering varieties have a good reseeding ability and best recommended for the southern part of the state.

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Portrait of Dr. Rocky Lemus
Extension/Research Professor
Forage Establishment, Grazing Systems and Management, Hay Production, Forage Fertility, Forage Quali