Preplant cultivation techniques and planting date effects on white clover establishment into an existing cool-season turfgrass sward

Bret Sparks, Gregg Munshaw, David Williams, Michael Barrett, Jeffrey Beasley, Paul Woosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Managed turfgrass species require frequent inputs to maintain an acceptable level of density and appearance. Among these inputs, the N supply is often the most limiting input in terms of growth and development of the turfgrass stand. However, N fertilization has been linked to nonpoint source (NPS) pollution of groundwater and natural water bodies. White clover (WC), which would provide N in mixed turfgrass swards, could help reduce NPS pollution from N fertilization of turf. To test the feasibility of introducing WC into existing turf, a field study was designed to determine the best method of incorporating WC in mature stands of two cool-season grasses. Two varieties of WC, ‘Dutch White’ (DW), and ‘Microclover’ (MC), were sown (24.4 kg·ha-1) into existing stands of kentucky bluegrass (KBG) (Poa pratensis L.) and tall fescue (TF) (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). Establishment techniques tested included core aeration (CA), scalping (SC), and vertical mowing (VM) compared with direct sowing into the turfgrass stand. Establishment treatments were performed in April, July, and October of 2012–13 to examine for any seasonal timing effect on establishment. No significant difference in plant numbers (individual clover plants per square meter) was found between WC varieties among planting dates and techniques. The SC treatment resulted in the highest individual clover plant numbers. However, turfgrass recovery was significantly slower from the SC treatment than all other treatments. The summer planting date yielded the highest WC plant numbers. Recovery of the turfgrass from all preplanting treatments was also highest at the spring and summer planting dates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-620
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


  • Core aeration
  • Microclover
  • Scalping
  • Trifolium repens
  • Vertical mowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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