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Crop Science Abstract - CROP QUALITY & UTILIZATION

Seed Production of White Clover Cultivars and Naturalized Populations when Grown in a Pasture


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 4, p. 1109-1114
    Received: Sept 13, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): clover@ra.msstate.edu
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  1. G. A. Pederson * and
  2. G. E. Brink
  1. USDA-ARS, Crop Sci. Res. Lab., Waste Mgmt. & Forage Res. Unit, 810 Hwy 12 E, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5367 USA


Small-type white clover, Trifolium repens L., plants predominate in most closely grazed pastures in the southeastern USA. The role of relative seed production in stand persistence of white clover types in pastures has not been quantified. This study compared the relative seed production of seven small-type naturalized populations with that of seven large-type white clover cultivars and germplasms in a pasture. All entries were space-planted into plots in a common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] pasture at Mississippi State, MS, on a Savannah fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Typic Fragiudult) in fall 1995 and 1996, and grazed with cattle prior to flowering and seed production. All naturalized populations averaged about three times as many flowers and seed-bearing flowers as all cultivars other than `Louisiana S-1' each year. Flower production differences were consistent throughout the study, though maximum flower production for naturalized populations was earlier in the season than cultivars. Seed production differences were similar to flower production, as cultivars averaged only 27 to 43% as much seed as naturalized populations. The low growth stature and excessive seed production of naturalized populations enable them to tolerate close continuous grazing and have a greater opportunity to reseed in pastures than common large-type cultivars. This reseeding potential probably contributes to the domination of small-type white clover in closely grazed pastures of the southeastern USA.

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