Skip to main content

New Zealand White Clover an Orchard Cover Crop

New Zealand White Clover (Trifolium repens) is a perennial nitrogen fixing legume that reaches about 8-12 inches in height.  New Zealand White Clover is more tolerant of heat and drought than larger clovers, is more vigorous, and tolerates a wide range of soils.


New Zealand White Clover forms a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing soil bacteria called Rhizobium trifolii. Rhizobium bacteria are found in root nodules of clover and other legumes. The Rhizobium bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium that the plant uses for growth and development. The plant in turn provides a suitable growth environment (root nodule) as well as other nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein.
 
New Zealand White Clover is used as green manure as it fixes up to 170 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Excess nitrogen is released into the surrounding soil where associated plants use it for growth and development. Local Orchards, Valencia County Extension Service, and Homeowners use New Zealand White Clover under their orchards or vineyards to provide natural organic nitrogen and eliminate the need to buy inorganic nitrogen fertilizers (photo).


New Zealand White Clover is also used as “living mulch”. Like other mulches a surface crop of New Zealand White Clover protects the soil from drying, high temperatures, chokes out weeds, and the flowers attract beneficial insects like honeybees (photo).

Reminder also, that a field of clover is just enjoyable to view, smell, and search through for lucky 4-leaf variations.

New Zealand White Clover will grow on most soils but requires regular moisture for growth. This is one reason it is well suited as an orchard or vineyard cover crop because fruit crops require regular moisture for production. Leave clover un-mowed in late summer or early fall so that this added bulk can act as an insulator through the winter months.

Trees That Please Nursery has both White Clover and New Zealand White Clover available for planting as an orchard cover crop.  Contact the nursery for more information and pricing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Weed Identification: Goatheads or Stickers

Goatheads ( Tribulus terrestris ) are native to Southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Goatheads are also called stickers, sticker weed, bullhead, devil’s weed, and puncturevine. Goatheads are easily recognized by their prostrate growth form, leaves with leaflets, yellow flowers, and stickers (Goatheads). If you miss’em visually then they will stab you painfully in the fingers as you work your garden, or stick to your clothing and shoes. Goatheads are the primary reason local bicyclists must get “thorn proof” tires for riding on area trails and streets. Goatheads have prostrate stems that radiate outward from one central point. Leaves are compound with smaller leaflets. Lemon yellow flowers form along the stems and fertilized flowers form fruits.   Fruits consist of several attached structures called nutlets (Goatheads). Each nutlet is a single seed that becomes hard or woody when mature. Each seed has two sharp spines that easily penetrat

Western Soapberry Tree

The Western Soapberry tree ( Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii ) is native to New Mexico. It grows wild from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana westward through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Mexico. The fruit of the Western Soapberry tree is a drupe. Mature fruits are translucent, amber colored, and contain a black seed. The mature fruit without the seed will produce a good lather with water and has been used as a soap substitute. Fruits persist on the trees through winter. T he Western Soapberry tree can grow 1′-2′ annually reaching 25′-30′ tall and wide making it a good sized shade tree. Fall leaf color is an attractive golden yellow. Currently, there are no improved varieties of the Western Soapberry Tree. It grows well on the alkaline soils of New Mexico and is very tolerant of heat and drought once established. This tree is rarely affected by disease or insect pests making it an ideal specimen tree for your yard or landscape. S

Weed Identification: Sand Bur

Sand Bur ( Cenchrus longispinus ) is native to North America. It has other names like sand spur, long-spined sand bur, hedgehog grass, and bur grass . Sand Bur is an annual grass usually growing with a prostrate growth form. It is similar in appearance to other grasses prior to seed formation. Individual plants may be 3’ in diameter, sometimes larger. Sand Bur is a common weed of sandy soils but also grows well elsewhere. Sand Bur will often root at stem nodes that are touching the ground. The root system of Sand Bur is shallow and fibrous making them easily pulled (when immature). Sand Bur produces a flowering spike. As seeds begin to form Sand Bur is easily recognized by its numerous sharp or burred seeds or long spines. As the burred seeds mature they are easily separated from the mother plant and their sharp spines stick to virtually anything. Sand Bur can disseminate its seeds long distances because its sharp spines will hitch a ride on skin, animal hides,