Cultural conditions: Alsike prefers localities where moisture is abundant in the soil and in the air. The most suitable soil is a moist clay loam or clay. Like Red Clover, it requires time for its development. In central Ontario certain gravelly clay soils, rich in lime, are especially well adapted to it. It can be grown to advantage where the soil is too wet for ordinary Red Clover. On poorly drained land, where Red Clover would be a certain failure, Alsike will succeed, provided other conditions are suitable.
Climate: Alsike has not been successfully grown in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. This may be due either to the severe winter or to the dry growing season, or to both. European experience indicates that the dry summers may be the chief cause of the failure of Alsike in the Prairie Provinces. Prolonged drought prevents the young plants from making a good growth before cold weather and thus renders them susceptible to winter-killing. Even old, well-established plants are more seriously affected by drought than is Red Clover. This is doubtless due to the rather shallow root system of Alsike; it is not able to collect the moisture from the subsoil. In dry districts which are irrigated good returns are obtained.
Habits of growth: Under favourable conditions Alsike will flower late in the autumn of the season it is sown. Commonly, however, the plants enter the winter in the same stage of development as do those of Red Clover. The following spring the plants start comparatively late and do not bloom as early as ordinary Red Clover. Usually they are two weeks later and blossom about the same time as Mammoth Clover. If cut for hay, the aftermath develops quickly but is rarely sufficient to warrant a second cutting.
Agricultural value: When grown for hay Alsike is generally mixed with Red Clover and grasses such as Timothy and Red Top; on account of its spreading growth, it is liable to lodge if grown alone. When in mixtures, the stronger-growing grasses and clovers support the Alsike and the hay produced is of a finer quality. The common mixture in Ontario is two pounds of Alsike, eight of Red Clover and four of Timothy to the acre. As a rule ordinary Red Clover is used although it is earlier than the other two. If the mixture is cut for hay when Red Clover is at the proper stage, Alsike and Timothy are not ready, and if cut when the latter are at their best the feeding value of Red Clover has decreased. Alsike should be cut for hay when it is in full bloom or a little later; that is, when the earliest flowering heads begin to turn brown. Late cutting will not lessen the value of Alsike hay as much as that of Red Clover, as Alsike