In the climate conscious world we live in today, many farmers like us are becoming increasingly aware of the adverse effects of the use of chemicals on both human health and the environment.
As part of our regenerative agriculture programme, we have been trialling the natural benefits of clover in our fields of newly planted trees, with the aim to reduce the need for herbicides and therefore to assist in our policy of sustainable Christmas tree farming.
So, what are the advantages of having clover in our Christmas tree fields?
Well, firstly, clover is a great nitrogen fixer. This means that it partners with beneficial bacteria to transform nitrogen gas that is in the air pockets in the soil, into stable organic compounds. As clover grows very quickly, once it is established, it can improve soil structure and health, and helps to maintain soil moisture and suppresses other weeds. This will not only reduce the need for herbicides, but will also allow our precious Christmas trees to grow and thrive in their natural environment.
Secondly, clover is an ideal habitat for various birds and insects, providing food, water and shelter or them. Clover is also a great source of nectar for pollinating insects. Notably, scientists have linked the drastic decline in bee populations to the eradication of clover and other weeds, making this experiment crucial for the future of our wildlife.
Whilst our trials using clover are ongoing, we are embracing its presence in our fields, as it nourishes the soil, provides food and shelter for wildlife and has the potential to reduce the need for herbicides and artificial fertilisers, therefore assisting in our production of sustainably grown Christmas trees.