White Clover, Trifolium repens
White clover is one of the most important perennial pasture legumes. It is highly palatable and nutritious forage for all classes of livestock and most wildlife and is a high value plant for native and honey bees. White clover is commonly planted with orchardgrass, ryegrass, bromegrass, or tall fescue. Large or Intermediate white clover planted with orchardgrass produces the premier forage combination for intensive grazing systems in the Northeast and grows tall enough to be harvested for hay, silage, and green chop. Common white clover (Dutch White) seldom grows tall enough to be harvested for hay or silage, but is an excellent companion for lawns, paths or other high traffic grass ways.
Sweet Clover, Yellow:
Melilotus officinalis Lam. , White: M. alba Medik
Broadly speaking, sweet clover is an annual to biennial forb reaching 5 feet (1.5 m) in height. Prior to World War II, sweet clover was an important green manure crop. Its ability to grow rapidly and fix nitrogen made it an ideal green manure. Interest in sweet clover for green manure dwindled rapidly after World War II when commercial fertilizers became readily available. When used for green manure, plowing under sweet clover residue increases soil nitrogen content when compared to just harvesting top growth for forage. Rapid growth and easy establishment make sweet clover a popular choice for reclamation seedings. Additionally it works well in seed mixtures for road cuts, post-fire, mine spoils and other disturbed sites. The large taproot increases aeration and water absorption by opening the subsoil. Sweet clover flowers are highly attractive to bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Woolypod Vetch, Vicia villosa ssp. varia ;
Cahaba White Vetch, Vicia sativa × Vicia cordata
Woollypod vetch is an introduced, self-seeding, cool season annual legume similar in appearance to other annual and perennial vetches. Woollypod vetch may be used as a substitute for purple vetch in cover crop and green manure seedings. Because it matures relatively early and reseeds well, Woollypod vetch can be used where a perpetuating annual cover is desired. Cahaba Vetch was bred to be an excellent forage in the east and southern parts of the US during the winter. In the transition zone it has shown good winter hardiness. Cahaba vetch is a summer legume used to follow with wheat or bypass planting. Both Woolypod and Cahaba vetch are cold tolerant, but not winter hardy. They will die when temperatures fall below 30F.
Chickling Vetch, Lathyrus sativus
Chickling Vetch is an annual legume developed as a fertilizer alternative to supply green manure Nitrogen for both organic and conventional growers. In only 8-10 weeks of growth an average of 80-100 lbs N/acre can be produced. This plant is drought tolerant, moisture efficient, resistant to many insects and diseases, and suitable for a variety of climates and soil types. It has been found to markedly enhance all major components of soil biological quality and boost soil fertility.