Growth of White Clover Clones in Monoculture and Contrasting Bermudagrass Swards
- G. E. Brink and
- D. E. Rowe
Spaced-plant arrangements provide a means of evaluating white clover (Trifolium repens L.) germplasm for a range of characteristics. Growth of spaced white clover plants in monoculture, however, may not be related to growth with grasses. Our objective was to determine the relationships among various growth parameters of white clover grown as spaced plants in monoculture and with contrasting grass swards. Vegetative clones of 47 plants of Southern Regional Virus Resistant white clover germplasm were planted on 1-m centers in previously established common or hybrid (‘Tifton 44’) bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L). Pers.) swards, in monoculture in a Catalpa silty clay soil (fine, montmorillonitic, thermic Fluvaquentic Hapludoll) in the fall of 1988. Growth of each clone was measured in the spring and fall of 1989, and in the spring of 1990 and 1991. At each sampling, clover dry matter (DM) yield, plant spread, and stolon branching were lower for clones grown with common bermudagrass than with hybrid bermudagrass or in monoculture. Growth of clones with hybrid bermudagrass was intermediate to growth with common bermudagrass and in monoculture, presumably because of the density of aboveground competition from hybrid compared to common bermudagrass (260 vs. 470 g DM m−l2; 5-cm stubble). Correlations between clover yield and stolon branching, and clover yield and plant spread were greatest for clones grown with common bermudagrass (0.42 and 0.85, respectively). Stolon branching of clones in monoculture was not correlated with stolon branching in either bermudagrass. The influence of the grass on stolon branching and the relationship of branching to persistence suggest the necessity of evaluating white dover germplasm in association with grasses.
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