« AnteriorContinuar »
securing more uniformity in the ripening of the seed.
The seed may be threshed in much the same way as other clover seed. (See page 107.) The yields per acre should run from 3 to 8 bushels. It weighis 20 pounds per bushel.
Renewing.–Since Japan clover is an annual, it is not necessary to renew it, in the sense in which more long-lived clovers are renewed, as, for instance, the alsike variety. (See page 216.) About the only renewal practicable is that which insures successive crops of pasture, hay or seed from the same land where the crop has once been grown. (See page 285.) But the growth may, of course, be stimulated by the application of dressings of fertilizer, such as gypsum, or those that may be termed potassic in character.
Burr Clover (Medicago maculata) is sometimes called Spotted Medick and sometimes California clover, also Yellow clover The name burr clover has doubtless arisen from the closely coiled seed pod, which, being covered with curved prickles, adhere to wool more or less as burrs do. The name Spotted Medick has been given because of the dark spot found in the middle of the leaflets, in conjunction with the family of plants to which it belongs. The name California clover is given because of the claim that it was much grown in California after having been introduced there from Chili, and the name yellow clover, from the color of the blossoms. After its introduction into the United States, seedsmen sell California and Southern burr clover as two varieties, but the correctness of the distinction thus made has been questioned. Many persons were wont to confuse it with alfalfa, or, as it is frequently called, lucerne, but the latter is much more upright in its habit of growth, grows to a greater height, has more blossoms, blue in color, and seed pods more loosely coiled. It is also to be distinguished froin a variety (Medicago denticulata) which bears much resemblance to it, and which, growing wild over portions of the plains and foothills of the West, affords considerable pasture.
i) whicho wild west, Burr clover may properly be termed a winter annual, since the seed comes up in the autumn, furnishes grazing in the winter and spring, and dies with the advent of summer. It is procumbent or spreading and branched. On good soil some of the plants radiate to the distance of several feet from the parent root. They have been known to overlap, and thus accumulate until the ground was covered 2 feet deep with this clover, thus making it very difficult to plow them under. It is only under the most favorable conditions, however, that the plants produce such a mass of foliage. The leaves are composed of three somewhat large leaflets. The flowers, as previously intimated, are yellow, and there are but two or three in each cluster, but the clusters are numerous; hence, also the pods are numerous. They are about 14 of an inch broad, and when mature are possessed of considerable food value.
Burr clover grows chiefly during the winter, and is at its best for pasture during the months of March and April, and in the Gulf States dies down after having produced seed in May. Though it is frequently sown, it has the power of self-propagation to a marked degree, which makes it possible to grow many crops in succession without re-seeding by hand.
It is not considered a good hay plant, but its value for pasture is considerable, although, as a rule, animals do not take kindly to it at first, as they do to alfalfa or medium red clover, but later they become fond of it, but less so, probably, in the case of horses than of other animals. Being a legume, it is helpful in enriching the land, and being a free grower, it improves the soil mechanically through its root growth, and also through the stems and leaves, when these are plowed under.
Distribution. — Burr clover is said to be native to Europe and North Africa, but not to North America, although it has shown high adaptation in adapting itself to conditions as found in the latter.
Although this plant is hardy in the South, and, as previously stated, makes most of its growth in the winter, it is not sufficiently hardy to endure the winters far northward. Its highest adaptation is found in States around the Gulf of Mexico. It also grows with more or less vigor as far north as North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. For these States its adaptation is, on the whole, higher than crimson clover, although where the latter will grow readily it is considered the valuable plant of the two.
For Canada, burr clover has no mission, owing to the sternness of the winter climate in that country.
Soils.—While burr clover will grow with more or less success on almost any kind of soil possessed of a reasonable amount of fertility and moisture, it is much better adapted to soils alluvial in character and moist, as, for instance, the deposit soils in the bottom of rivers. Its power to fight the battle of existence on poor lands is much less than that of Japan clover, but on soils that grow crops, such as corn or cotton, it may be made to render a service
which the other cannot, since it grows chiefly in winter and early spring, whereas Japan clover grows in the summer and early autumn, when cultivated crops occupy the land.
Place in the Rotation.—Burr clover is grown more in the sense of a catch crop and for pasture than in that of a crop to be marketed directly. Since it is grown in the winter and spring, it may be made to come in between various crops. On good producing lands of the South it has given satisfaction as a pasture plant for winter for many successive years without re-sowing by hand, when sown in conjunction with crab grass (Panicum sanguinale) for hay. Dr. Phares grew it thus in Mississippi for about 20 years. In June crab grass sprang up on the ground, and being cut when in blossom, produced a good crop of hay in August. A lighter cutting was again taken in October. The clover then took possession of the land and was grazed until spring, but not so closely as to prevent re-seeding in May, after which the plants died down.
By thus allowing the plants to mature seed, any crop may follow that can be grown after May. By. following burr clover with cow peas, land may be much fertilized in one year. By reversing the process on land low in fertility, that is, sowing the peas first and the clover later, a much better growth of the clover will be secured. The seed may also be sown in corn and cotton crops, with a view to enriching the land. But it is only in the Gulf States that much attention is given to growing burr clover thus, and for the reason, probably, that the winters