Persian clover (trifolium resupinatum) is a legume species widely used across Europe but lesser utilised in the UK. This short term annual fixes nitrogen and is capable of rapid growth making it ideal for providing a quick boost to soil fertility where there is a window of 5-9 months. The flowers are notably fragrant and pink/purple in colour.
For a short growing window, persian clover is a very good option and will be more productive than red clover for a short-term nitrogen boost. On emergence, this plant produces very small leaves. The 4-5 leaf stage expansion is rapid, producing a thick canopy that is extremely competitive against weeds.
When to Sow: April - May is the ideal time for sowing in the spring when soils are warming up. Mid-late August for an autumn sowing. Persian clover will not establish under cold temperatures and is unlikely to be successful if sowing extends too far into September.
Sowing Rate: 1.0 g/m2 - 4kg per acre - 10kg per ha.
Preparation: The most successful results come from sowing into a newly prepared seedbed. Aim to cultivate the top soil to about 5cm, with a light cultivator or discs. The finished seedbed should be fine but firm, with no clods. Several passes with a cultivator may be needed to achieve this.
Sowing: Clover seed is small and should be broadcast or drilled to a shallow depth (no more than 10mm). Sowing too deep will reduce the germination dramatically. The soil should be rolled after sowing to increase soil to seed contact.
Management: Persian clover is usually only cut once and may be cut high at an early stage if annual weed control is required. If cut at full flowering there will be little regrowth and often kills the plant off. Persian clover is not particularly winter hardy. Normally it is killed by the first couple of autumn frosts. If persian clover survives through the winter, it can effectively be terminated mechanically.
Date Posted: 13th January 2023