Alfalfa, like most other perennials, is influenced by environmental factors and is genetically programmed to respond to these external factors. Alfalfa's response to shortening days and cooling average daily temperatures may be very strong (very fall dormant--usually cold-tolerant plants) or minimal to nonexistent (nondormant--plants with little or no cold hardiness, such as the annual or tender perennials as horticulturists would call them).
Iowa State University
Barnhart, Stephen K., "Fall harvest management of alfalfa" (1999). Integrated Crop Management News. 2125.
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