Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

are too cold to admit of the plants furnishing a sufficiency of grazing at that season.

Burr clover is sometimes grown with Bermuda grass. The latter furnishes summer grazing. There is some merit in the plan, if the seed of the burr clover were sown from year to year. When the re-seeding of the plants is depended on from season to season there is difficulty in adjusting the grazing so as to admit of the plants properly re-seeding for the growth that is to follow. If the Bermuda grass is not closely grazed many of the burrs which contain the seeds may not reach the ground in time to germinate.

Preparing the Soil.—Since burr clover has much power to re-seed the land without preparation, it is more commonly reproduced thus. But, as with all other plants, it will grow more quickly and more luxuriantly on a well-prepared seed-bed, where it may be thought worth while to thus prepare the land. The cultivation given to such crops as corn, cotton or cow peas makes an excellent preparation of the soil on which to sow burr clover.

Sowing.–Usually, burr clover is allowed to reseed itself after it has once become established in the soil. In this respect it is not unlike small white clover and Japan clover, but it does not grow so well as these on poor soil. Where not yet established, it must, of course, be sown where it is desired to grow it.

The seed is commonly sown in September or early October, but some growers recommend sowing in the burrs as early as June or July, that the tough surrounding which encloses the seed may have time to decay. When seed separate from the burr is used, it is sown in the months named. When sown on well-prepared soil, grazing should be plentiful from February onward.

Burr clover is more commonly sown in the þurr. The burrs are usually scattered by hand and on land that has been pulverized, but it is easily possible, when the conditions are favorable, to obtain a stand on land that has not been plowed. Where seed is scarce, the burrs are sometimes planted in squares 3 feet apart each way, a limited number of burrs being dropped at one time. When thus planted, i bushel of burrs will plant several acres. The plants will soon possess all the ground, but to enable them to do so, pasturing must be deferred for one season. Whether sown in the burr or otherwise, it is better to cover the seed with the harrow.

One bushel of burrs weighs from 10 to 12 pounds. It has been stated i bushel of clean seed weighs 60 pounds. When sown in the burr, it is usual to sow 3 to 5 bushels per acre, but in some instances less is sown and in some more. When seed apart from the burr is sown 12 pounds per acre should suffice. In some instances it is sown on Bermuda sod, but the attempts to grow it thus have not always proved satisfactory. At the Louisiana Experiment Station it was found that the burr clover remained long enough and grew large enough to injure the Bermuda. Possibly closer grazing would have prevented such injury. When sown on Bermuda grass, June, July 'or August are the months chosen for scattering the seed.

Burr clover is also sometimes sown in corn and cotton to provide winter grazing, but when thus sown the object more frequently sought is to enrich the land. Both ends may be accomplished in some degree.

Pasturing.-Opinions differ as to the palatability of this grass. All are agreed that stock do not take kindly to it at first, but that they come to relish it at least reasonably well when accustomed to it. It is said to be relished less by horses and mules than by other domestic animals. It has been praised as a pasture for swine. It is more palatable in the early stages of its growth, and will bear close grazing, and also severe tramping. It will provide pasture for six months, but not so bountifully in the first months of growing as later.

Harvesting for Hay.—Burr clover is not a good hay plant. Owing to the recumbent character of the growth it is not easily mowed, nor has it much palatability in the cured form. The yield is said to be from 1/2 to i ton per acre.

Securing Seed. In the Gulf States the seed matures in April and May. The plants grow seed profusely. Sown in October, stock may usually be allowed free access to it until March, and if then removed, it will spring up quickly and mature seed so profusely that when the plants die and partially decay seed may sometimes be collected in hollows, into which it has been driven by the wind. It is more commonly sown in the burr form, the form

in which it is usually gathered. The more common method of saving the seed, as given by Mr. A. H. Beattie of Starkville, Mississippi, is to first rake off the dead vines so as to leave the burrs on the ground and then sweep them together with a suitable wire or street broom. It is then lifted and run through two sets of sifters of suitable mesh by hand to remove the trash swept up in gathering the seed. It is probable that other methods more economical of labor are yet to be devised when harvesting the seed crop. As much as 100 bushels of burrs have been obtained from an acre, but that is considerably more than the average yield of seed.

Renewing. -Since this plant is an annual, it cannot be renewed in the sense in which renewal is possible with a perennial. But as has been shown above (see page 294), it may be grown annually for an indefinite period in the same land and without resowing by hand. It has also been shown that by sowing the seed in certain crops at the proper season, from year to year, it may be made to grow from year to year where the rotation will admit of this. (See page 295.) When the ground is well stored with seed, the plants will continue to come up freely in the soil for at least two or three years, even without any re-seeding of the land.

As a Fertilizer.--The growing of burr clover exercises a beneficial influence on the land. Its value for this purpose, since it can be grown as a .catch crop, is probably greater than its value in providing food for stock. Like all plants that are more or less creeping in their habit of growth, it shades

the soil and keeps it moist, which, in conjunction with the influence of the roots, puts it in a friable condition. When the plants grow rankly, it is not easy to bury them properly with the ordinary plow, but in such instances, if cut up with a disk harrow, the work is facilitated. The plants quickly die down so as to make plowing easily possible, but the aim should be to have such decay take place within the soil rather than above it.

« AnteriorContinuar »