Frost Seeding Red Clover

By Clint Schroeder OSU Extension

The weather forecast for the next several days is ideal for frost seeding. Frost seeding is a very low cost way to establish new forages in existing fields or pastures by broadcast spreading the seed and letting the freezing and thawing cycles of the soil to pull the seed below the surface. With night time low temperatures in the mid 20s and daytime highs reaching the mid 40s over the next 4-5 days there will be several opportunities to broadcast the seed in the morning when the ground is frozen, before it thaws during the day. The chance of rain and higher temperatures in the 6-10 day forecast will be beneficial for germination and establishment.

Red clover generally works best for frost seeding because it is a heavier round seed that has a better chance of making seed to soil contact in this environment. Traditionally, red clover has shown a high seedling vigor that can be easily adapted to a wide range of soil pH levels and fertility conditions. Seeding rates can vary between 2 to 10 pounds per acre. Established pastures or forage fields that need supplemented will use lower rates. Small grain fields like wheat and barley will often require seeding rates at the higher end of that range.

More information on frost seeding can be found at these links.


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