Defoliation Effects on Root and Rhizome Development of Kura Clover

  • Kim, B.W. (College of Animal Resources, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Albrecht, K.A. (Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Received : 2005.07.05
  • Accepted : 2005.12.06
  • Published : 2006.05.01


There is limited information on the relationship between defoliation and root and rhizome development of kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.). To determine the effects of defoliation severity on root and rhizome growth of young kura clover plant (seedling about 8 wk old), this research was conducted in 2002 (Experiment 1) and 2003 (Experiment 2) in a glasshouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Four kura clover entries were used in this experiment: two were started from seed materials (ARS-2678 and 'Rhizo') and two were clones from mature, field-grown Rhizo kura clover plant. Three defoliation frequencies (2-, 4- and 6-wk intervals) and two defoliation intensities (complete and partial defoliation) were imposed on each of the four kura clover entries. Root, rhizome, and leaf dry matter (DM) generally increased with less frequent defoliation, however, the increase in rhizome DM was not significant between 4- or 6-wk defoliation periods. The root and leaf DM under complete defoliation (CD) were significantly lower than under partial defoliation (PD). In Exp. 1, rhizome DM was not significantly different between CD and PD; it was significantly lower under CD in Exp. 2. ARS-2678 showed excellent root development characteristics, however, its rhizome DM was significantly lower than Rhizo clones. The rhizome development from Rhizo clones was greater than that from seed materials. If maximum root and rhizome growth are expected from young kura clover plant, the intensity and frequency of defoliation should be minimized or defoliation should be avoided.



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