The Versatile Arrow Leaf Clover

Arrowleaf Clover

Arrowleaf clover, a highly productive winter annual clover, thrives from East Texas to Georgia. While it thrives best on well-drained loam or sandy loam soils, it can still perform well on well-drained clay soils. However, it cannot tolerate acid soils. Although it may produce less forage in late fall and winter compared to crimson clover, it compensates by extending its spring production by six weeks or more. In most areas, arrowleaf clover provides excellent quality grazing until late May. Its digestibility remains high until maturity.

A Clover for Grazing Mixtures

Arrowleaf clover is an excellent addition to grazing mixtures. It boasts a very low bloat potential and its late spring production helps extend the grazing season while delivering high-quality forage. Additionally, arrowleaf is known for its prolific seed production, making it a good reseeder if given the chance. To allow reseeding, it is advisable to remove animals from the paddocks or reduce stocking rates in late April or early May when the clover starts to flower. It is important to note that if arrowleaf clover has been grown in a pasture for several years, its ability to reseed may be compromised by a Fusarium spp. disease complex.

A Spring Grazing Solution

One effective method of incorporating arrowleaf clover into the system is by sod-seeding it into warm-season perennial pastures. This not only introduces biologically-fixed nitrogen into the system but also provides spring grazing. However, it is crucial to closely graze the arrowleaf clover to prevent a full canopy from developing over the perennial grass, potentially reducing its early spring growth.

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Optimal Management for Continued Success

Arrowleaf clover will remain productive until late spring or early summer if proper grazing management is implemented to maintain its height between 2 to 6 inches. This not only enhances new leaf production but also improves light and air movement, reducing the likelihood of disease. It’s worth noting that arrowleaf clover may exhibit symptoms of stress, such as purpling leaves, in response to fertility issues, cold stress, or disease.

Varieties and Planting Methods

Several varieties of arrowleaf clover are available in the Southeast. However, it is important to choose cultivars with improved resistance to virus complexes that can significantly reduce yields. Establishing arrowleaf clover is possible either on a prepared seedbed or by overseeding on warm-season perennial grass pastures. Both methods can result in satisfactory stands. When broadcasting the legume seed, be sure to adjust the seeding rate accordingly. If using a prepared seedbed, mixing arrowleaf clover with a small grain crop or ryegrass can be advantageous. Adjusting seeding rates in such mixtures helps minimize seed costs and prevent excessive competition.

When drilling or broadcasting arrowleaf clover onto a prepared seedbed, it is vital to ensure that the seeds are not planted more than ¼ to ½ inch deep. On the other hand, broadcasting legume seed onto dormant warm-season perennial grass sod usually does not present a problem with planting depth.

For more information about arrowleaf clover, visit the Ames Farm Center.