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Cutting alfalfa/lucerne ( Medicago sativa)

 
Adriaan van Roosmalen
Posts: 23
Location: Netherlands (moderate maritime climate)
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I have some patches of alfalfa in some drier parts (rain shadow) of the garden. Up to now I have been cutting it at 4 inches (10 cm). Can you cut alfalfa lower? What is the recommended cutting height?
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 569
Location: Longbranch, WA
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Agricultural extension research indicates that it can be cut shorter than the 3 inch recommended height. Read the PDF for more details.
In my polyculture field there are some patches which I try to let go to seed and try to cut the grass seed stalks above it but sometimes have to cut close to the ground to deter unwanted plants. It comes back up vigorously shading the soil so that it dominates that spot.

I hope this answers your question
 
Ray Moses
Posts: 74
Location: Brighton, Michigan
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alfalfa yields are better cut lower at around 2 inch height, grasses no lower then 4 inches. Cut alfalfa on average every 28 days  and no later in the growing season then will allow regrowth for winter survival. In my area I usually cut no later then September 15.
 
Adriaan van Roosmalen
Posts: 23
Location: Netherlands (moderate maritime climate)
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Hans, thanks for that reference. It is very interesting. This week I will cut at 2 inches (5 cm) as suggested by Ray. Next year in spring I will experiment with cutting lower.
 
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