Korean Lespedeza is a warm season legume. It is a fine stemmed, leafy, herbaceous legume with a shallow taproot system. It was introduced to the United States in 1919 from Korea.
AREAS OF ADAPTATION: Korean lespedeza is distrubuted throughout the midwest and eastern United States. Korean is better adapted than common lespedeza in the North because of its shorter life cycle. It can be grown in sandy or clay soils and at fertility levels from low to high.
USES: Primary uses are for pasture, hay, wildlife and erosion control. Live stock and deer will graze in the summer. Korean lespedeza is an excellent source of seed for quail and upland birds. If left un-cut or grazed can reach 2 feet in height which is perfect cover for upland birds.
ESTABLISHMENT: Lespedezas are good companions with bunch-type grasses such as tall fescue, timothy and orchardgrass. The advantage of using lespedeza with grasses is that the legume can provide much needed summer grazing when cool-season grasses are dramatically slower in production. Seeds should be planted (by drilling or broadcasting) between March and April at the rate of 25 to 40 lbs. per acre broadcast or 15 to 20 lbs. per acre drilled in a well prepared bed. If drilling, the seed should be placed at a depth of 1/2 inch. When broadcasting the seed, incorporate lightly by raking and then pack the soil surface. You should inoculate seed for best results.
MANAGEMENT: If pastures are managed properly, annual lespedeza should reseed itself. Light grazing will allow natural reseeding. Hay should be cut at early bloom state. All harvesting methods should leave a 3-inch stubble. Lespedezas will reseed themselves but must be manually reseeded at some point to maintain adequate stands. Do not over fertilize if planted in mixture with grasses.
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