Next Article in Journal
Biomass Production and Potential Fixed Nitrogen Inputs from Leguminous Cover Crops in Subtropical Avocado Plantations
Next Article in Special Issue
Reframing the Debate Surrounding the Yield Gap between Organic and Conventional Farming
Previous Article in Journal
Effects of White Lupin and Groundnut on Fractionated Rhizosphere Soil P of Different P-Limited Soil Types in Japan
Previous Article in Special Issue
Impact of Nitrogen and Sulfur Supply on the Potential of Acrylamide Formation in Organically and Conventionally Grown Winter Wheat
Open AccessArticle

Kura Clover Living Mulch: Spring Management Effects on Nitrogen

Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108-6028, USA
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, St. Paul, MN 55108-6028, USA
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108-6028, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 69;
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 2 February 2019
PDF [2754 KB, uploaded 27 February 2019]


Kura clover living mulch (KCLM) systems have the potential to provide ecosystem services in intensively managed cropping systems while supplying soil mineral nitrogen (N) to the growing cash crop. Living mulch management relies on strong spring suppression to reduce competition between vigorous kura clover and emerging row crop seedlings, but standard suppression management practices utilize widely different modes of action. The objective of this research was to gain insight into the impact of common KCLM management practices on early season N dynamics. Kura clover was mowed, and residue was either harvested or returned before rows were established via strip tillage or banded herbicide. Soil and gaseous N pools were monitored for 12 weeks post initial application of suppression management treatments. An enrichment factor (EF) approach was utilized to compare N pools under managed treatments relative to an unmanaged clover control. Strip tillage increased soil N by 300%, while banded herbicide row establishment increased soil N by 220% relative to the unmanaged control. Pre-plant clover harvest reduced short term soil NO3–N, but during later time intervals there was no relationship between residue management and soil N. We conclude that, for the dual goals of maintaining clover perenniality while providing greater soil N enrichment, strip tillage is superior to band herbicide for row establishment. Additionally, pre-plant clover harvest may open opportunities for dual harvests in a single growing season, increasing economic return while maintaining in-season N contributions from the living mulch. View Full-Text
Keywords: kura clover; living mulch; inter-cropping; agronomics; nitrogen; mineralization; enrichment factor kura clover; living mulch; inter-cropping; agronomics; nitrogen; mineralization; enrichment factor

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Alexander, J.R.; Venterea, R.T.; Baker, J.M.; Coulter, J.A. Kura Clover Living Mulch: Spring Management Effects on Nitrogen. Agronomy 2019, 9, 69.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Agronomy EISSN 2073-4395 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top