Clover Cover Crop – Mow Before Tilling?

Q: Last fall we planted red clover in our raised beds. This is the first time we have planted a cover crop. Your web page recommends mowing the clover in spring. It will be impossible to mow since it’s a raised bed. Can we just till in the whole plant or do I need to use my hedge trimmers to ‘mow’ it first ?

A: Depending on how warm the spring becomes, clover can become a huge mass of plant material by mid-March. You’ll probably find that clipping it or chopping it finely before you till it makes sense.

Plan to do it a week or two before you intend to plant seeds. It takes about that long for the stems and leaves to decompose in the soil.

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