Nitrogen Fertilization of Tall Fescue-Birdsfoot Trefoil Mixtures
In mixtures with birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), tall fescue (Festuca urundinacea Schreb.) growth during early spring and autumn in north Georgia is limited. A study was conducted to determine if supplemental N fertilizer could extend the productive season of tall fescue-birdsfoot trefoil mixtures. Field experiments were conducted for 3 yr in the Mountain and Piedmont regions of Georgia. Mixtures grown included ‘AU Triumph’ tall fescue with ‘Fergus’ or ‘AU Dewey’ birdsfoot trefoil and tall fescue alone, all with N rates of 0, 56, or 112 kg ha−1 in February, or 56 kg ha−1 in February and September. The grass-legume mixture at 0 N had total forage yields similar to tall fescue + 112 kg N ha−1. Spring production of tall fescue-birdsfoot trefoil mixtures was increased 50 to 114% with 56 kg N ha−1. Autumn production was increased 80 to 200% with 56 kg N ha−1 in September. The N concentration of non-N-fertilized tall fescue increased 24% when grown with birdsfoot trefoil. Apparent N2 fixation of birdsfoot trefoil grown with tall fescue ranged from 79 to 137 kg N ha−1 during a good rainfall year. Birdsfoot trefoil apparently did not fix sufficient N for cool season growth of tall fescue, so that application of N in February and again in September extended the productive season of tall fescue-birdsfoot trefoil mixtures.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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