Clover As A Weed Destroyer

Where clover is much grown, at least in

some of its varieties, it becomes an aid in reducing the prevalence of

many forms of weed growth. It is thus helpful in some instances, because

of the number of the cuttings secured; in others because of its

smothering tendencies, and in yet others because of the season of the

year when it is sown and harvested or plowed under, as the case may be.

Alfalfa and medium red clover are cut more frequently than the other

varieties and, therefore, because of this, render more service than

these in checking weed growth. The former is cut so frequently as to

make it practically impossible for most forms of annual weed life to

mature seed in the crop. The same is true of biennials and also

perennials. But there are some forms of perennial weeds which multiply

through the medium of their rootstocks that may eventually crowd

alfalfa. Medium red clover is usually cut twice a year, hence, in it

annuals and biennials cannot mature seed, except in exceptional

instances, and because of the short duration of its life, perennials

have not time to spread so as to do much harm.

The clovers that are most helpful in smothering weeds are the mammoth,

the medium and the alsike varieties. These are thus helpful in the order

named. To accomplish such an end they must grow vigorously, and the

plants must be numerous on the ground. When grown thus, but few forms of

weed life can make any material headway in the clover crop. Even

perennials may be greatly weakened, and in some instances virtually

smothered by such growth of clover. To insure a sufficient growth of

clover it may be advantageous to top dress the crop with farmyard manure

sufficiently decayed, and in the case of medium red clover to dress the

second cutting with land plaster. If the second growth is plowed under,

subsequent cultivation of the surface will further aid in completing the

work of destruction.

The crimson variety is sown and also harvested at such a time that the

influence on weed eradication is very marked. The ground is usually

prepared in the summer and so late that weeds which sprout after the

clover has been sown cannot mature the same autumn. In the spring it is

harvested before any weeds can ripen. When plowed under, rather than

harvested, the result is the same.

When clover is grown in short rotations, its power to destroy weeds is

increased. For instance, when the medium red or mammoth varieties are

grown in the three years' rotation of corn or some root crop, followed

by grain seeded with clover, the effects upon weed eradication are very

marked, if the cultivation given to the corn or roots is ample. Under

such a system weeds could be virtually prevented from maturing seeds at

any time, especially if the medium variety of clover were sown, and if

the stubbles were mown some time subsequent to the harvesting of the

grain crop. Such a system of rotation faithfully carried out for a

number of years should practically eradicate all, or nearly all, the

noxious forms of weed life.

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