Is there a replacement legume for birdsfoot trefoil?

Asked March 23, 2013, 11:29 PM EDT

I have read that birdsfoot trefoil is considered to be invasive in Michigan. However, it seems to also be recommended for seeding to renovate pastures (among other grasses, etc.). I really hate to plant something that is invasive. Can you recommend another legume for horse pasture seeding? Thanks so much for your advice. We have sandy soil and live near Chelsea, Michigan.

Washtenaw County Michigan horses pastures and grazing forages for horses legumes

1 Response

Birdsfoot trefoil is not a bad choice for horse pastures however there are better legumes. Any of the clovers would be my first choice. White or red clovers especially. They are hardy and tollerate intensive grazing. You can add this to a pasture grass mix at about 5-10%. However, some don't recommend adding any clover at all because as pastures mature clover seems to infiltrate regardless. They also have a good nutrient balance for horses. Just make sure to stay away from Alsike clover which is toxic to horses.

For more information on pasture management for horses see our learning lesson at:
http://www.extension.org/pages/9592/horsequest-learning-lesson:-equine-pasture-management

Good luck and I hope this helps.