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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 6, p. 936-940
     
    Received: Oct 18, 1982
    Published: Nov, 1983


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doi:10.2134/agronj1983.00021962007500060019x

Fertilizer Requirements for New Plantings of Tall Fescue and White Clover on Two Low-Fertility Ultisols1

  1. C. H. Burmester and
  2. Fred Adams2

Abstract

Abstract

The use of optimum fertilizer rates is an essential component ofmanaging pasture forages. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), the dominant cool-season pasture grass in much of the South, is often interplanted with white clover (Trifolium repen L.) for improved forage quality and as an N source for the grass. Inadequate P and K fertilizers allow weeds to invade new plantings; too much N fertilizer allows tall fescue to choke-out white clover. Since a paucity of data exists on N-P-K requirements for new plantings of fescue and fescue-clover, two on-farm experiments were established on soils that are typical of extensive pasture acreage. Three N rates (0, 67, and 134 kg ha−1), four P rates (0,15, 30, and 60 kg ha−1), and four K rates (0, 28, 56, and 112 kg ha−1) were applied to fescue and a fescue-clover mixture; tall fescue alone received an additional N rate of 201 kg ha−1. Swards were clipped when 20 to 25 cm tall. Optimum N rate for tall fescue differed for the two sites; with clover in the sward, however, it was zero for both. Soil test P was very low for both soils (2 mg kg−1), and the optimum P rate for fescue was 15 kg ha−1 on one soil and 45 kg ha−1 on the other. With clover in the sward, optimum P rates were 50 to 55 kg ha−1 on both soils. Soil-test K differed for each site (low vs. medium), but optimum K rate for fescue alone was 28 kg ha−1 for each soil; with clover in the sward, however, optimum K rate was higher on the soil with the lower soil K (110 vs. 28 kg ha−1). In fescue-clover swards, weeds became dominant in the no-P and no-K plots at one site; tall fescue became dominant at the other. White clover almost disappeared in the no-P and the highest-N plots at both sites.

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