Establishment and Persistence of Yellow-Flowered Alfalfa No-Till Interseeded into Crested Wheatgrass Stands

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Crested wheatgrass [Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn., A. desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) Schult., and related taxa] often exists in near monoculture stands in the northern Great Plains. Introducing locally adapted yellow-flowered alfalfa [Medicago sativa L. subsp. falcata (L.) Arcang.] would complement crested wheatgrass. Our objective was to evaluate effects of seeding date, clethodim {(E) -2-[1-[[(3-chloro-2-propenyl)oxy]imino]propyl]-5-[2-(ethylthio)propyl]-3-hydroxy-2-cyclohexen-1-one} sod suppression, and seeding rate on initial establishment and stand persistence of Falcata, a predominantly yellow-flowered alfalfa, no-till interseeded into crested wheatgrass. Research was initiated in August 2008 at Newcastle, WY; Hettinger, ND; Fruitdale, SD; and Buffalo, SD. Effects of treatment factors on plant frequency during initial establishment were influenced by site environments. Late summer and spring were suitable seeding dates. Clethodim sod suppression increased seedling frequency in most cases. Seedling frequency increased as seeding rate increased from 0.56 to 7.84 kg pure live seed (PLS) ha–1. Specific seeding dates, clethodim sod suppression, and high seeding rates did not greatly improve initial establishment when site environments were poor. Residual effects of seeding date and sod suppression post establishment were not significant at most locations, but seeding rate effects were evident. Initial establishment and persistence of Falcata alfalfa was successful at Newcastle, indicating that interseeding in late summer or spring using low seeding rates (≤3.36 kg PLS ha–1) without clethodim can be effective. Assessing grass canopy cover, soil texture, and management (e.g., haying) is necessary to determine the suitability of crested wheatgrass sites for interseeding.

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Agronomy Journal





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American Society of Agronomy