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Ball Clover (Trifolium nigrescens)

Plant Characteristics: Winter annual with non-hairy oval leaflets and toothed margins. Small seed heads (smaller than white clover) with fragrant white flowers. Seed heads are usually produced closed to the ground.

Establishment: It is a late maturity clover. It grows well in the central and southern part of the state. Well adapted to loam to clay soils and can tolerate poor drainage. Ball clover is characterized by having hard seeds (~60 to 65%), which can aid with natural reseeding overtime. Ball clover can be broadcast between August 15 and October 15 at a rate of 2 to 3 lb/ac.

Fertilization: A pH of 6 or higher is recommended. No N is required. Apply lime, P and K to maintain healthy and productive stands according to soil test recommendations. Although P and K are not removed in large amounts under grazing, nutrients can be redistributed to shade, watering and other lounging areas where urine and dung are concentrated, specially in large continuously stocked pastures.

Grazing/Hay Management: It can be utilized for pasture production and tolerates heavy grazing. Yields production usually occurs is short from late March to early May and range from lb/ac to lb/ac. It could be provide forage for that period of cool-season to warm-season grasses.

Forage Quality: Bloat is usually a problem. High protein content comparable to white clover.

Varieties/Cultivars: n/a.

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Portrait of Dr. Rocky Lemus
Extension/Research Professor
Grazing Systems, hay production, forage fertility, forage quality and utilization, alfalfa productio