The white clovers Trifolium repens L of the United States can be classified in three general groups — small, intermediate and large. Ladino clovers belongs to the large group and the name refers to their origins in Italy where most ladino strains originated. White Dutch white clover is a member of the small classification. Except for their differences in size, all of these groups of clovers are difficult to tell apart.
White clover has a shallow root system. It will grow in soils considered too acid for red clover and alfalfa, but it is more productive if the salt pH is 5.5 or higher.
White or ladino clover is especially responsive to cool, moist conditions. It grows best between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It also responds to irrigation about as much as any other legume. Because of its shallow root system, it is not adapted to shallow, droughty soils.
Ladino clover is widely used for forage, especially in pasture. It is high in protein digestibility, a heavy nitrogen fixer, easy to establish and moderately winter hardy.
But the two greatest deterrents to greater use of ladino clover are the possibility of its causing bloat and its inability to survive prolonged periods of dry weather. The bloat problem is extremely difficult to characterize. Some farmers have reported using ladino for many years with little or no bloat problem. Others have reported heavy livestock losses. One of the keys to grazing ladino with reasonable safety is to maintain a uniform grass-clover stand, with the clover not contributing more than 40 percent of the stand. Uneven stands of grass and ladino seem to be particularly dangerous. As a general rule, do not turn hungry cattle onto white clover pastures, especially those pastures wet with dew.
Grazing management as well as weather factors will influence the amount of ladino in a pasture. Increased intensity of grazing usually increases the proportion of ladino to grass, while less frequent or longer intervals between defoliation tend to increase the proportion of grass in the mixture.
When ladino is seeded in a mixture with other legumes, about 1/4 pound of ladino seed per acre is adequate. When it is the only legume seeded with a grass, about 1/2 to 1 pound is adequate. When used to overseed grass previously established, 1 to 2 pounds is the most used rate. All seeding rates are for pure line seed (PLS).
White clover has more than 800,000 seeds per pound.