Known in some areas of the country as "poor man’s alfalfa”, Alsike Clover seed is known to thrive in marginal soils and is considered a must have in seeding mixes for hay or pasture. Often growing when other clovers will not, it is a somewhat short-lived perennial; some crop managers plant Alsike Clover seed as a biennial. Grown most widely in the eastern and northern mid-western states and into the Pacific Northwest, it matures a week to ten days earlier than red clover.
Alsike Clover performs especially well in cool climates and wet soil, even tolerating flood conditions for considerable periods of time, though it is known to perform just as well in well-drained soils. Field trials have also shown Alsike Clover to do well on soils that are too acidic for red clovers, as well as being capable of tolerating more alkalinity than most other clovers. Poorly drained and overflow land has also been successfully planted with Alsike Clover, so it is amazingly adaptable. Additionally, it is resistant to many clover diseases, including bacterial wilt, bacterial blight, mildew and Northern anthracnose.
Alsike Clover will normally only produce one hay crop per year, but it is an extremely desirable companion crop for other types of hay production. Additionally, its flowers are pink or white and unbelievably fragrant, attracting many beneficial insects, to include the honey bee. Alsike clover should not be feed to horses!
The recommended seeding rate is 15 pounds per acre when planted alone, or 5 to 8 pounds per acre when seeded as a companion.