Alfalfa is a cool-season perennial that’s known for feeding livestock. Many also grow it as a cover crop to condition soil and control erosion, thanks to how highly nutritious it is for its source of nitrogen. Another benefit of alfalfa is that they have an extensive root system and is very easy to grow.
While easy to grow, do they regrow after their harvesting season, similar to other plants and crops? You and many gardeners have wondered, “does alfalfa grow back every year?”
Read on as I show you about growing alfalfa and if it’s possible for them to regrow after a year.
Does Alfalfa Grow Back Every Year?
What’s great about alfalfa is that it’s been cultivated for generations, making it easy to grow. And if you’re wondering if they grow back after harvesting or when the frost has come, you’ll be happy to know that YES, they do!
You can easily grow and propagate alfalfa plants, as they adapt well in any garden and tolerate various growing conditions. They are also drought-resistant plants, and in fact, they don’t like wet feet or too much moisture, which leads to mold growth.
But usually, alfalfa can be mowed after harvesting for next season’s growth and seeding. You can leave them with proper maintenance for your livestock to feed on, though.
However, one thing is for certain: If you plan to allow alfalfa plants to grow in the fields, you should not attempt thickening it by interseeding new alfalfa plants. This is because it ends up with one plant dying due to trying to compete with other resources. Rather, allow your alfalfa plants to grow and regrow every season to prosper, regardless of the reason behind its growth.
However, they can only grow back after a year if you care for it well and time your planting strategically. Also, you’ll need to make sure that you select the right variety of alfalfa seeds, making sure that it can go against disease, winter, and forage.
Here is the typical timeline for alfalfa growth:
- Seed your alfalfa plants during the spring, or during the fall if you live in cooler climates.
- After ten days of seeding, you’ll start seeing sprouts, and once they reach 6-12 inches, you’ll need to thin the plants to prevent overcrowding.
- Alfalfa plants will then be ready for harvest as early as 40 days after the seeds emerge. However, it’s best to wait for 60 days before the first cut, for a higher yield and growth. Allow the alfalfa to grow until you see purple blooms appear.
- If you’re using alfalfa as hay for livestock, you’ll need to still harvest alfalfa and cure the plants before it flowers. You wouldn’t want the animals to digest mature alfalfa, as they won’t easily digest it.
Growing Alfalfa Properly
Now that you know how alfalfa can grow every year, you need to learn how to care for it properly. This will ensure proper regrowth for more harvesting during the next season. With that said, here are a few quick tips you can follow:
- Make sure that you plant alfalfa in a proper, well-draining area that’s filled with a lot of sun. Its soil pH levels should be between 6.8 and 7.5. Before you do plant alfalfa, clean out the area and work on the soil, removing all debris.
- Never leave out your alfalfa, because even when they are easy to plant, they are still at risk with insects, pests, weeds, and other factors that may destroy your plants. Continue managing and monitoring your plants, giving it the proper fertilizer and requirements it needs to grow for the long run.
- Avoid cutting alfalfa when rain is imminent, since this may damage your crops. Also, do not cut any seeding alfalfa during the month-long period before the frost, as this puts more risk in winter injury, resulting in a smaller root system.
Do you want to learn more about growing your alfalfa properly for it to successfully regrow every year? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
Alfalfa is a great plant you can use for your entire garden, or when harvested, it can be used for salads and other dishes! If you’re wondering about it regrowing for another season, then you’re in luck, as it will regrow every year for you to harvest. But you can only do so when you know how to care for your alfalfa plants well.
I hope that this article answers your question, “does alfalfa grow back every year?” Now that you know the answer, start looking into caring for your alfalfa better, or learn more about how you can start planting some.