Kura clover response to potassium fertilization

Craig C. Sheaffer, Philippe Seguin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M.B.) is a persistent perennial forage legume that produces high-quality herbage for grazing, but its response to potassium (K), an essential plant nutrient, is unknown. Our objective was to determine the effect of four dipotassium oxide (K2O) rates on forage yields and stands of Kura clover compared to birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). There was a significant linear response in Kura clover and alfalfa forage yields to K2O fertilization each year. Averaged over 4 years, Kura clover forage yield increased by 0.024 Mg ha-1 per kg of K2O applied, and the yield response was similar for alfalfa. Birdsfoot trefoil forage yield response to K2O fertilization was less than those of alfalfa and Kura clover. In the first 2 years after seeding, Kura clover forage yields were consistently less than for alfalfa at all rates of K2O fertilizer, but in subsequent years Kura clover yields were similar to or exceeded those of alfalfa. Final groundcover values, an estimate of stand density, of unfertilized (0 K2O rate) Kura clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and alfalfa were 86, 35, and 21%, respectively. Final groundcover of Kura clover and alfalfa was increased by K2O fertilization. We conclude that Kura clover has good persistence with low soil K fertility but stands and yields can be increased by fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-456
Number of pages7
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Alfalfa
  • Birdsfoot trefoil
  • Forage legumes
  • Forage yield
  • Soil exchangeable K
  • Stand persistence


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