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RED CLOVER.   IOI

 

Soil: Red Clover can be successfully grown on many kinds of soil, the most suitable being clay loarns with a certain amount of lime and plenty of organic matter. Sandy loarns also give good returns, especially on limestone foundation; but generally speaking, Red Clover prefers the heavier soils. It can be grown even on stiff clay, provided the subsoil is open. For its proper development Red Clover, like Alfalfa, depends a good deal upon the subsoil. This must be open and well-drained. Stagnant water near or on the surface is decidedly injurious. Water-soaked soil excludes the air necessary for the respiration of the roots and is in a bad physical condition to meet the alternate thawing and freezing of early spring. As is well known, water expands when changing into ice, and if the surface soil contains an abundance of water it will consequently expand when freezing. The overground parts of the plants will be lifted up with the freezing soil. As the lower roots are anchored in the subsoil and therefore unable to follow the upward movement, they will be stretched and sometimes broken. The disastrous effects of alternate freezing and thawing make it evident that one of the first conditions of successful clover growing is well-drained soil.

 

Habits of growth: Being a biennial, Red Clover devotes the first season's growth to the development of its root system and the accumulation of strength to meet the winter's hardships. It there-fore produces a strong tap root, which, if soil and weather are favour-able, penetrates to a considerable depth. The overground parts of the plants consist at first of only a few, short, upright stems which carry leaves but no flowers. Later in the season, short leafy shoots are developed which generally lie flat on the ground and are known as the winter tuft. At the same time the tap root begins to contract until its original length is reduced by more than ten per cent. As the end of the root is firmly anchored in the ground, the result is that the overground parts of the plant are pulled down. This process, which has been observed in other plants such as carrots and parsnips, is evidently meant to bring the stems and leaves into close contact with the ground where they are best protected against frost and wind. Early in the spring of the second year the branches of the winter tuft develop into flower-bearing stems, which, if not cut or pastured, produce seed and late in the fall die. The great mass of clover plants are thus biennial. Red Clover types exist, however, which show a decided tendency to live longer, especially if the plants are kept from seeding by continual cutting or pasturing. The best known of these perennial types is Mammoth Clover.


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