Growth characteristics of several clover species and their suitability for weed suppression in a mixed cropping design

N.G. den Hollander

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Weed management without herbicides is a challenging undertaking and requires reliable alternative strategies, particularly in poorly competing crops, where weeds can cause severe yield losses. Adding a companion crop is one of the means to enhance the weed suppressive ability of the crop canopy. In this regard, clover is often referred to as  an  interesting option as, apart from weed suppression, clover species enhance the soil nitrogen status and contribute to pest suppression. Earlier experimental work showed however that clover can easily become too competitive, hindering the growth and development of the main crop. It thus remains questionable whether clover can be added as a companion cover crop for weed suppression without substantially harming the main crop. In this context, the relevance of the choice of clover species was investigated in the current research project. Next to field experiments, experiments in containers and pots were used to determine various traits of a range of  clover species and to relate these traits to competitive and weed suppressive ability. Differences between clover species were large and it was shown that plant height was the main determinant of the competitive effect on crop plants, while rapid early growth was the trait correlating most strongly to weed suppressive ability. Persian clover was a good example of a species that suppressed weeds successfully, but also competed too fiercely with the main crop. The performance of the short growing subterranean clover was unsatisfactory. The slow early growth of this species resulted in poor weed suppression and in addition, the species competed more strongly with the crop than expected based on plant height. This last was shown to be due to a relatively strong ability to compete for below ground resources. It was concluded that successful introduction of a companion clover crop for enhanced weed suppression will not be possible unless additional management  to reduce the competitive damage to the main crop is conducted. Of all the investigated clover species white clover held most promise as a weed suppressing clover species in a mixed cropping design.

Key words: Clover, subterranean clover, weed suppression, cover crop, living mulch, smother crop, yield loss. 

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kropff, Martin, Promotor
  • Bastiaans, Lammert, Co-promotor
Award date3 Apr 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789461732682
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

mixed cropping
weed control
weeds
crops
companion crops
Trifolium subterraneum
cover crops
Trifolium resupinatum
Trifolium repens
research projects
containers
crop yield
growth and development
herbicides
pests
canopy

Keywords

  • trifolium subterraneum
  • clovers
  • weed control
  • cover crops
  • live mulches
  • yield losses

Cite this

@phdthesis{1491ac88be3a430697cd07da4afdc4fa,
title = "Growth characteristics of several clover species and their suitability for weed suppression in a mixed cropping design",
abstract = "Weed management without herbicides is a challenging undertaking and requires reliable alternative strategies, particularly in poorly competing crops, where weeds can cause severe yield losses. Adding a companion crop is one of the means to enhance the weed suppressive ability of the crop canopy. In this regard, clover is often referred to as  an  interesting option as, apart from weed suppression, clover species enhance the soil nitrogen status and contribute to pest suppression. Earlier experimental work showed however that clover can easily become too competitive, hindering the growth and development of the main crop. It thus remains questionable whether clover can be added as a companion cover crop for weed suppression without substantially harming the main crop. In this context, the relevance of the choice of clover species was investigated in the current research project. Next to field experiments, experiments in containers and pots were used to determine various traits of a range of  clover species and to relate these traits to competitive and weed suppressive ability. Differences between clover species were large and it was shown that plant height was the main determinant of the competitive effect on crop plants, while rapid early growth was the trait correlating most strongly to weed suppressive ability. Persian clover was a good example of a species that suppressed weeds successfully, but also competed too fiercely with the main crop. The performance of the short growing subterranean clover was unsatisfactory. The slow early growth of this species resulted in poor weed suppression and in addition, the species competed more strongly with the crop than expected based on plant height. This last was shown to be due to a relatively strong ability to compete for below ground resources. It was concluded that successful introduction of a companion clover crop for enhanced weed suppression will not be possible unless additional management  to reduce the competitive damage to the main crop is conducted. Of all the investigated clover species white clover held most promise as a weed suppressing clover species in a mixed cropping design. Key words: Clover, subterranean clover, weed suppression, cover crop, living mulch, smother crop, yield loss. ",
keywords = "trifolium subterraneum, klavers, onkruidbestrijding, dekgewassen, levende mulches, oogstverliezen, trifolium subterraneum, clovers, weed control, cover crops, live mulches, yield losses",
author = "{den Hollander}, N.G.",
note = "WU thesis 5200",
year = "2012",
language = "English",
isbn = "9789461732682",
publisher = "s.n.",
school = "Wageningen University",

}

Growth characteristics of several clover species and their suitability for weed suppression in a mixed cropping design. / den Hollander, N.G.

S.l. : s.n., 2012. 132 p.

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

TY - THES

T1 - Growth characteristics of several clover species and their suitability for weed suppression in a mixed cropping design

AU - den Hollander, N.G.

N1 - WU thesis 5200

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Weed management without herbicides is a challenging undertaking and requires reliable alternative strategies, particularly in poorly competing crops, where weeds can cause severe yield losses. Adding a companion crop is one of the means to enhance the weed suppressive ability of the crop canopy. In this regard, clover is often referred to as  an  interesting option as, apart from weed suppression, clover species enhance the soil nitrogen status and contribute to pest suppression. Earlier experimental work showed however that clover can easily become too competitive, hindering the growth and development of the main crop. It thus remains questionable whether clover can be added as a companion cover crop for weed suppression without substantially harming the main crop. In this context, the relevance of the choice of clover species was investigated in the current research project. Next to field experiments, experiments in containers and pots were used to determine various traits of a range of  clover species and to relate these traits to competitive and weed suppressive ability. Differences between clover species were large and it was shown that plant height was the main determinant of the competitive effect on crop plants, while rapid early growth was the trait correlating most strongly to weed suppressive ability. Persian clover was a good example of a species that suppressed weeds successfully, but also competed too fiercely with the main crop. The performance of the short growing subterranean clover was unsatisfactory. The slow early growth of this species resulted in poor weed suppression and in addition, the species competed more strongly with the crop than expected based on plant height. This last was shown to be due to a relatively strong ability to compete for below ground resources. It was concluded that successful introduction of a companion clover crop for enhanced weed suppression will not be possible unless additional management  to reduce the competitive damage to the main crop is conducted. Of all the investigated clover species white clover held most promise as a weed suppressing clover species in a mixed cropping design. Key words: Clover, subterranean clover, weed suppression, cover crop, living mulch, smother crop, yield loss. 

AB - Weed management without herbicides is a challenging undertaking and requires reliable alternative strategies, particularly in poorly competing crops, where weeds can cause severe yield losses. Adding a companion crop is one of the means to enhance the weed suppressive ability of the crop canopy. In this regard, clover is often referred to as  an  interesting option as, apart from weed suppression, clover species enhance the soil nitrogen status and contribute to pest suppression. Earlier experimental work showed however that clover can easily become too competitive, hindering the growth and development of the main crop. It thus remains questionable whether clover can be added as a companion cover crop for weed suppression without substantially harming the main crop. In this context, the relevance of the choice of clover species was investigated in the current research project. Next to field experiments, experiments in containers and pots were used to determine various traits of a range of  clover species and to relate these traits to competitive and weed suppressive ability. Differences between clover species were large and it was shown that plant height was the main determinant of the competitive effect on crop plants, while rapid early growth was the trait correlating most strongly to weed suppressive ability. Persian clover was a good example of a species that suppressed weeds successfully, but also competed too fiercely with the main crop. The performance of the short growing subterranean clover was unsatisfactory. The slow early growth of this species resulted in poor weed suppression and in addition, the species competed more strongly with the crop than expected based on plant height. This last was shown to be due to a relatively strong ability to compete for below ground resources. It was concluded that successful introduction of a companion clover crop for enhanced weed suppression will not be possible unless additional management  to reduce the competitive damage to the main crop is conducted. Of all the investigated clover species white clover held most promise as a weed suppressing clover species in a mixed cropping design. Key words: Clover, subterranean clover, weed suppression, cover crop, living mulch, smother crop, yield loss. 

KW - trifolium subterraneum

KW - klavers

KW - onkruidbestrijding

KW - dekgewassen

KW - levende mulches

KW - oogstverliezen

KW - trifolium subterraneum

KW - clovers

KW - weed control

KW - cover crops

KW - live mulches

KW - yield losses

M3 - internal PhD, WU

SN - 9789461732682

PB - s.n.

CY - S.l.

ER -