Medium red clover is thought to be native to Europe. It
was probably introduced into England some time early in the seventeenth
century. That it was attracting attention about the middle of the
century or a little later, is rendered probable by the
fact that it is discussed at considerable length in the third edition of Blyth's Improver Improved, published in 1662, while it is not mentioned in the first edition, published in 1650. It was doubtless introduced into the United States by the early colonists and at sundry times. Medium red clover will grow in good form only in the temperate zone, since it cannot stand excessive heat or excessive cold. The northerly limit of its successful growth in North America is somewhere about 50 deg. north latitude on the wind-swept prairies, but on suitable soils, and protected somewhat by trees and winter snows, it will probably grow 10 degrees further to the north. In British Columbia, on the Pacific slope, it will probably grow as far north as Alaska. But on prairies eastward from the Rocky Mountains, it has not been grown with much success much further north than 48 deg., unless under the eastern shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Low temperatures in winter, where there is only a moderate covering of snow, are far less fatal to clover plants than exposure to the sweep of the cold winds. Even where the thermometer is not so low as in the areas just referred to, such winds are particularly damaging to the plants when they blow fiercely just after a thaw which has removed a previous covering of snow. In some instances, one cold wave under the conditions named has proved fatal to promising crops of clover over extended areas. In a general way, the southerly limit of vigorous and reliable growth may be put at about 37 deg.. But in some localities good crops may be grown further South, especially in some parts of Tennessee. Nor would it be correct to say that medium red clover grows at its best in many localities much south of 38 deg.. On the plateaus it can be grown further South, where the soil is suitable. This plant flourishes best in a moist climate. In fact, the abundance and continuance of the growth for the season are largely dependent on the amount of the precipitation, and on the distribution of the same throughout the season. In climates in which it is usual for a long spell of dry weather to occur in mid-summer, the plants will not make rapid growth after the first cutting of the season; but under conditions the opposite, they will grow continuously from spring until fall. Continuous growth may be secured through all the season on irrigated land. Although the plants root deeply, they will succumb under drought beyond a certain degree, and in some soils the end comes much more quickly than on others; on porous and sandy soils, it comes much sooner than on clays. On the latter, drought must be excessive to destroy clover plants that have been well rooted. White clover can withstand much heat when supplied with moisture. Moderate temperatures are much more favorable to its growth. Spring weather, characterized by prolonged periods of alternate freezing and thawing, is disastrous to the plants on dry soils, possessed of an excess of moisture, when not covered with snow. They are gradually drawn up out of the soil and left to die on the surface. In some instances, the destruction of an otherwise fine stand is complete. In other instances, it is partial, and when it is, a heavy roller run over the land is helpful in firming the soil around the roots that have been thus disturbed. Medium red clover can be grown with some success in certain parts of almost every State in the Union. But in paying crops it is not much grown south of parallel 37 deg.. With irrigation it grows most vigorously in the mountain valleys between the Rocky and Cascade mountains, and between about 37 deg. and 50 deg. north latitude. In these valleys its habit of growth is perennial. Without irrigation, the highest adaptation, all things considered, is found in Washington and Oregon, west of the Cascades, except where shallow soils lying on gravels exist. East of the mountains, the best crops are in the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The soils of Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, that have produced hardwood timber, have unusually high adaptation to the growth of this plant, and as the snow usually covers the ground in these areas in winter, the crop may be relied upon with much certainty. But on the sandy soils, which more or less abound in these areas, it does not succeed so well. It has not yet proved a marked success in Western Minnesota or in the Dakotas, owing in part probably to the lack of the proper bacteria in the soil. Its growth in these localities, however, is extending from year to year. Indiana and Ohio are great clover States, and the same is true of much of Illinois and Iowa; but southward in these States there is some hazard to the young plants from drought and heat in summer, and to an occasional frost in winter when the ground is bare. East of the States named, it would probably be correct to say that the highest adaptation is found in New York and Pennsylvania, particularly the former, in many parts of which excellent crops are grown. In various parts of the New England States good crops may also be grown. Much of the soil in these is not sufficiently fertile to grow clover as it can be grown in the more Central States. The same is true of the States of Delaware, Maryland and Eastern Virginia, east of the Rocky Mountains, south from the Canadian boundary and west from Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, but little success has heretofore attended the efforts to grow medium red clover. This statement does not apply equally to Eastern Nebraska and Kansas. Usually the climate is not moist enough in summer, the sweep of the cold winds is too great in winter, the snowfall is usually insufficient to protect the plants, and it may be also that the requisite bacteria is lacking in the soil. Sometime, however, these adverse conditions may in part be overcome by man's resourcefulness. In parts of States that lie south of the 37th parallel, it may be found profitable to grow crops of medium red clover; but in these, other legumes, as crimson clover, cow peas and soy beans, will probably furnish food more reliably and more cheaply. In Canada the highest all-round adaptation for clover is in Ontario and Quebec, unless it be the mountain valleys and tide lands of British Columbia. Because of the high adaptation in the soil of the two provinces first named, and the plentifulness of the snowfall, clover in these is one of the surest of the crops grown. The maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward's Island, particularly the former, have soils a little too hungry to produce the highest returns in clover. On the open prairies between Ontario and the Rocky Mountains, not much success has attended the attempts to grow any kind of clover, owing probably to present uncongeniality in soils and more especially in climatic conditions. However, there are good reasons for believing that with the introduction of hardy varieties and through the use of Northern grown seed, an inoculated soil, where inoculation may be necessary, that medium red clover will yet be grown over wide areas in all the provinces of Northwestern Canada, south of and including the Saskatchewan valley.
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