Effects of grass defoliation on the establishment and growth of slot-seeded white clover.
White clover was slot-seeded into a low-fertility permanent pasture in May 1979. The effects of cutting interval (1, 2 and 4 weeks) and cutting height (3 and 7 cm), in the presence and absence of above-ground partitions, were recorded in terms of clover establishment and growth up to 15 weeks. The partitions resulted in a considerable increase in growth, stolon production and survival of clover plants, especially from 6 weeks after sowing, indicating a large effect of shoot competition from the surrounding sward. However, the effectiveness of defoliation in reducing grass competition appeared limited; close cutting did give some benefit to establishing clover but cutting frequency had little effect. In view of the limited success in reducing grass competition by cutting, further attempts at alleviating root competition are needed, possibly involving fertilizer placement and the use of grass-suppressing herbicides.