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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 1, p. 146-148
    Received: Aug 30, 1976

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Competitive Effects of Several Grass Species and Weeds on the Establishment of Birdsfoot Trefoil1

  1. B. C. Laskey and
  2. R. C. Wakefield2



Establishment of legume-grass mixtures on highway rights-of-way is complicated by the requirement that seedings be made over an extended period as construction proceeds and erosion control become critical. Permanent seedings are frequently required during the late spring-early summer period and the late summer-early fall period when weather conditions are likely to be critical and competition from grasses and weeds may severely retard legume growth. Studies were conducted to determine the competitive effects of three grasses, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) and also weeds on establishment of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) in the field at four times of the year, September, April, May and June. Plots were established on Enfield silt loam (mixed Typic Distrochrepts). Birdsfoot trefoil plant counts at the seedling and bloom stages showed that ryegrass was the most and red fescue the least competitive grass. Plant establishment of birdsfoot trefoil was significantly higher for the April seeding than for other seeding dates. Growth of birdsfoot trefoil was greater when seeded with Kentucky bluegrass or red fescue than when seeded with ryegrass. Weed competition reduced establishment of birdsfoot trefoil and growth of the legume at all seeding dates. When birdsfoot trefoil was grown alone, weeds produced more competing growth than grasses. However, grasses virtually eliminated weed growth. Reduced stands and yields of birdsfoot trefoil when grown with perennial ryegrass appeared to be due to rapid seedling emergence of the grass at a critical stage in the early growth and development of birdsfoot trefoil. The slower growing grasses, Kentucky bluegrass and red fescue, did not inhibit growth of birdsfoot trefoil since yields were comparable to the legume grown alone. An exception was the September seeding when winter-killing severely depleted stands of birdsfoot trefoil grown alone.

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