An annual legume and true clover, traditionally sown in the south east of England for over-winter sheep keep.
Used as a winter forage in milder parts of the UK. It is also used as a green manure for soil improvements in gardens and allotments. More recently it has been included in cover crop mixtures for agricultural land improvement.
This is a short term annual species.
Quicker to establish than some longer term clovers, it is vigorous at the seedling growth stage and provides good forage for livestock.
Not winter hardy.
3 - 4 t DM/ha on pure stands.
Sowing Rate Advice
6kg per acre / 15kg per ha.
Mixture Sowing Rate Advice
1 - 2kgs per acre / 2.5 - 5kg per ha
When mixing with Italian ryegrass.
Ideal Sowing Time
Sow in warm soils in spring and not late into the autumn.
The plant will withstand light topping early in its life cycle, if needed to control annual spring weeds. Severe grazing or cutting will reduce yield, grazing or cutting during or just after flowering normally kills off the plant. It does not suffer from the same clover sickness issues as red clover.
One of the larger true clover seeds, crimson clover is a smooth, rounded oval to spherical shape. It is usually a light brown colour reaching a length of 2.5-3mm.
Crimson clover produces one of the largest seedlings of all the commonly used true clovers. The cotyledons are 7.5-8mm in length and 6-6.5mm wide, they grow on stalks which are about half the length of the cotyledon width. The first true leaves become hairy and larger than the cotyledons.
The stem and leaves are densely hairy, each leaf is on long stalks, which get shorter as you reach the top of the stem. The leaves, hairy on both the top and underside also has a pronounced mid rib. The stipules between leaf and stem are easily visible and membranous, sometimes fringed with purple. The flower head is a rich crimson to red colour and shaped like a cone. Each plant has a slender taproot, with lateral branches.
It takes about 3 months to flower from sowing (12 weeks), 3-4 weeks longer than persian clover. A larger seed than red clover. Average seeds per kg - 320 000.
Works well withWesterwold or Italian Ryegrass as a forage, or other annual clovers for soil improvement.
You can find Crimson Clover in the following mixtures