Clover Sickness

On certain of the soils of Great Britain and probably on those of other countries in Europe, where clover has been grown quite frequently and for a long period, as good crops cannot be grown as previously, and in some instances the crop

is virtually a failure. The plants will start from seed in the early spring and grow with sufficient vigor for a time, after which they will show signs of wilting and finally they die. Various theories were advanced for a time as to the cause before it was ascertained by experiment what produced these results. Some thought they arose from lack of water in the soil, others claimed that they were due to the presence of parasites, which in some way preyed upon the roots, others again attributed them to improper soil conditions. It is now just about certain that they arose from a deficiency of soluble potash in the subsoil. Such, at least, was the conclusion reached by Kutzleb as the result of experiments conducted with a view to ascertain the cause of clover wilt. The cause being known, the remedy is not difficult. It is to grow clover less frequently on such soils. Sufficient time must be given to enable more of the inert potash in the subsoil to become available. Another way would be to apply potash somewhat freely to these soils, and subsoil them where this may be necessary. It is thought that clover sickness is as yet unknown in the United States and Canada, although its presence had sometimes been suspected in some sections where clover has been much grown. This does not mean that it may not yet come to this country. Should the symptoms given above appear on soils on which clover has been grown frequently and for a long period, it would be the part of wisdom to take such indications as a hint to grow clover less frequently in the rotation.

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