Frost seeding can be a good option in Northeastern hopyards. Establishing a solid intercrop can help keep down weedy species, and in the case of legumes, can add fertility to your soil. Frost seeding should occur in the early spring when the ground freezes at night and thaws during the day. While frost seeding can be done over a thin layer of snow, it is best to seed it into a field where you can see bare soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. The freeze-thaw cycle will cause the seed to fall into the cracks in the soil and germinate. If there is rapid snow melt, however, it can wash the seed right off of the field. Red and white clovers will work best in your hopyard as they germinate quickly and at cool temperatures. They should be seeded at 2-4 lbs/acre.
Our very own Dr. Heather Darby wrote an article about frost seeding into hay and pasture land, and the principles are very similar for implementing in a hopyard. To read the full article, please click here.