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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