Baker, J. M. 2012. Vegetative propagation of kura clover: a field-scale test. Can. J. Plant Sci. 92: 1245-1251. Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.) is a potentially valuable forage legume, but it has been underutilized. A major reason is the difficulty of establishing it from seed. Since kura is rhizomatous, there have been attempts to propagate it vegetatively, but no reports of success at the field scale. Two harvesting methods were tested to transplant material from a mature 17-ha field to a newly tilled 17-ha field: a bermudagrass sprigger that harvests bare rhizome sprigs, and a potato digger that harvests crowns and rhizomes, along with soil. The harvested propagules were distributed over the new field in July 2010 with a manure spreader, then disked and packed. Survival and growth were observed for the remainder of 2010 and through 2011, and recovery of the source field was also monitored. The material harvested with the sprigger did not compete well with weeds and had virtually disappeared by midsummer 2011, but the material harvested with the potato digger thrived, steadily increasing to nearly 80% of the biomass in the new field by the 3rd cutting in summer 2011. Properly done, vegetative propagation is a viable option for kura clover establishment.
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