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Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

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Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Old 04-01-2007, 08:30 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: NW PA
Posts: 23
Default Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

I am in northwest PA.

Dry weather prompted plowing of a very rough field so that it can disced and smoothed out. Now, Ineed to determine what to plant to serve as a cover crop, reduce weeds, and provide some benefit to wildlife. In a few years, will plant trees on this site but in the mean time I want the field to be of some value to wildlife (particularly deer and turkey). Iwill not be putting down lime and will notdo anything to control weeds other than to mow. I do not want to do additional plantings for at least 3-5 years.

7 years ago the soil was about 6.0 PH, so I estimate it now to be about 5.8, at best. This is a heavy soil; itretains moisture very well. Have done nothing with the field since it was tested 7 years ago. When plowed, it was overgrown with golden rod, other weeds, and some thorn bushes.

I doubt I will be planting until end of April or early-mid May (depends on the weather). I'm thinking of white cloverwith a nurse crop. Not sure if winter rye can be planted in the spring as a nurse crop. I have planted japanese millet on a smaller plot and it did well, but only attracted song birds.

- Can millet be used to nurse the clover?
- How well doeswinter rye do when planted in the spring?
- What luck have folks had with these plantings in soil with PH of about 5.8?
- chicory
- switchgrass (I hear it makesgreat cover for deer and birds in a few years but may require maintenance and weed suppression during the early years.)
- What are the best things to plant in the spring given my PH, soil type,and planting time?
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:15 AM
  #2  
Spike
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

After some research on the internet, I have come up with this mix (per acre). Thoughts?
- Medium red clover - 2 lbs
- Ladino white clover - 2 lbs
- Yellow sweet clover - 2 lbs
- Alsike clover - 2 lbs
- Birdsfoot Trefoil - 2 lbs
- Oats (Certified) - 30 lbs
- Japanese millet - 5 lbs
- Chicory - ? lbs - need to find a local supplier

This will cost about $35 per acre. The trefoil is about $10 of the $35.
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:10 PM
  #3  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

PA; the clover isn't going to grow very well at the pH levels that your talking about. Look into a proper soil test and liming unless you want to plant straight rye or other cereal grain.

Dan O.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:28 PM
  #4  
Spike
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Will winter rye grow if planted this time of year?
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:53 PM
  #5  
Giant Nontypical
 
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Pete, I put my winter Rye in this past Fall and the deer just hammered it! I know it will grow into the summer. I will be planting some to choke out the quack grass on a new plot I'll be turning over this next week. You could always work up the area you want to plant a few different times and leave it to rot and plant Rye a little later in the summer! Letting it sit will help with the weeds and unwanted grasses till you can plant the Rye!

This is what I turned over this past fall and let sit all winter. I will work it up a few more times before a plant. This killed alot of the weeds and quack grass. I will be doubling the size and the new stuff I turn over will sit and rot until I plant Rye for the winter!

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Old 04-04-2007, 09:28 AM
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

try whitetail institute extreme
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:22 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Why don't you want to put down lime? It really makes all the difference in the world. Why bother planting if you aren't going to do it right?
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:35 AM
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

A little bit of Calcium Carbonate will do it for sure
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:42 PM
  #9  
Spike
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Isn't Calcium Carbonate essentially the same as lime?

I agree thatlime is the correct thing to do, but there are times when the correct thing can't be done. And this is one of those times. Therefore, I'm looking for options that will allow me to proceed with my objective of smoothingout the field and while I'm at it provide somebenefit in the form offood and/or cover to the wildlife.

So, any additional thoughts on this proposed mix?:
- Medium red clover - 2 lbs
- Ladino white clover - 2 lbs
- Yellow sweet clover - 2 lbs
- Alsike clover - 2 lbs
- Birdsfoot Trefoil - 2 lbs
- Oats (Certified) - 30 lbs
- Japanese millet - 5 lbs
- Chicory - ? lbs - would need to find a local supplier

Also, what will winter rye do if planted in the spring? I've heard that there is a spring rye, but I have no experience with it nor do I know if it is available in my area.
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Union City, Michigan
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Default RE: Need recommendations for cover crop for PH of 5.8 - 6.0

Dr Leep from Mich State presented at our local QDMA meeting. He said if a field hasn't been planted. Plant Buckwheat at the end of spring. It is a natural herbicide and chokes out weeds and builds organic matter in the soil. Then plant rye (not rye grass) in the fall. Repeat this for a couple of years to build up the soil. MSU has done a lot of research on food plots. I can't find my handouts right nowbut a search on google with MSU and Dr. leep should give more info.
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