Biomass Production of Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata Link.) Using Urea and Kura Clover (Trifolium ambiguum Bieb.) as a Source of Nitrogen

Sung Un Kim, Kenneth Albrecht, Craig Sheaffer, Dokyoung Lee, Senthil Subramanian, Vance Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Optimizing nitrogen (N) management is an important factor for sustainable perennial biomass systems. However, N application is costly, both financially and environmentally. Our objectives were to determine: (1) N rate and plant spacing effects on yield and yield components of prairie cordgrass swards and (2) fertilizer N replacement value (FNRV) of kura clover in prairie cordgrass-kura clover binary mixtures. Plots were established in Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, USA, in 2010. Kura clover was transplanted on 30-cm centers in all treatments in which it was a component; prairie cordgrass seedlings were transplanted within the kura clover on 60- and 90-cm centers. Monoculture prairie cordgrass stands were established at the same population densities of mixed stands and fertilized with 0, 75, 150, or 225 kg N ha-1. Biomass was harvested in the autumn from 2011 to 2013. N (urea), year, plant spacing, and year × plant spacing affected prairie cordgrass production at all locations. Prairie cordgrass yield increased with N application, but the response varied by location. N application tended to increase prairie cordgrass tiller density and consistently increased tiller mass. Prairie cordgrass yield with 0 N was equal to or less than the yield of prairie cordgrass/kura clover mixtures at all locations in 2011 and 2012; however, kura clover provided a FNRV of 25–82 kg N ha-1 to prairie cordgrass in 2013. Kura clover has potential to provide N to prairie cordgrass in binary mixtures of these two species and on land that may not be easily farmed due to wetness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBioenergy Research
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Biomass production
  • Fertilizer nitrogen replacement value
  • Kura clover
  • Nitrogen
  • Prairie cordgrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Energy (miscellaneous)

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