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Benefits of Birdsfoot Trefoil as a Living Mulch

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Benefits of Birdsfoot Trefoil as a Living Mulch

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) is a perennial that is not nearly as persistent as crownvetch. It was an alien plant found growing along the Hudson River in New York State. It tolerates less well-drained and lower-pH soils than most other legumes and is a desired source of food and cover for small game. Birdsfoot trefoil is seeded with crownvetch to provide quick cover until the slower establishing crownvetch has a chance to fill in. Unsuppressed birdsfoot trefoil will be competitive with crops, so herbicides are needed to provide weed control and enough suppression that it doesn't bloom when used as a cover crop. Between 0.5 and 0.75 lb/A of atrazine is needed to suppress birdsfoot trefoil in corn and should be used starting the very next year after establishment. Other herbicides applied separately or in conjunction with atrazine will be needed to control any weed problems you might have. (See Table 4)

Birdsfoot Trefoil in the Spring