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Characterizing nitrogen transfer from red clover populations to companion bluegrass under field conditions.

Thilakarathna, R.M.M.S., Papadopoulos, Y.A., Rodd, A.V., Gunawardena, A.H.L.A.N., Fillmore, S.A.E., and Prithiviraj, B. (2012). "Characterizing nitrogen transfer from red clover populations to companion bluegrass under field conditions.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 92(6), pp. 1163-1173.

Abstract

The ability of two red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) cultivars, AC Christie (diploid) and Tempus (tetraploid), to transfer fixed nitrogen (N) to companion bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) was evaluated under field conditions. Plant samples were harvested three times during the 2009 growing season and N transfer from the red clover cultivars to bluegrass was determined using the natural abundance method for first harvest and 15N dilution techniques for second and third harvests. Soil and soil water samples were used to evaluate cultivar effects on soil N conditions. Both red clover cultivars derived more than 90% of their N from biological N fixation. The proportion of bluegrass N derived from interplant N transfer was 7, 11, and 26% for the first, second, and third harvests, respectively. Soil KCl extractable nitrate increased along the three cuts for Tempus in the 0 to 15-cm soil zone. Soil-water nitrate content increased periodically for AC Christie and remained constant for Tempus throughout the growing season. This result indicates that the two cultivars have distinctly different N cycling patterns.

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