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White Clover (Trifolium repens) Control and Flower Head Suppression in Apple Orchards

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Andrew W. MacRae
North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695
Wayne E. Mitchem*
North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695
David W. Monks
North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695
Michael L. Parker
North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695
Corresponding author's E-mail:


White clover is a weed in apple orchards that competes with the crop; also, flowers of this weed are unwanted attractants of honey bees at times when insecticides, which are harmful to these pollinators, are being applied. In 1997 and 1998, white clover flower head and plant control by clopyralid alone and with 2,4-D and apple tolerance to these herbicides were determined. Treatments consisted of clopyralid at 0.10 and 0.21 kg ae/ha, 2,4-D at 1.1 kg ae/ha, and 2,4-D at 1.1 kg ae/ha plus 0.03 or 0.05 kg ae/ha clopyralid, which were applied 2 wk before full apple bloom and 2 wk after full apple bloom, and a nontreated check. No crop injury occurred with any treatment. All herbicide treatments provided some white clover control and flower head suppression. No differences in white clover bloom reduction were observed through May among treatments containing clopyralid. As summer progressed, the effect of clopyralid rate became more apparent. Clopyralid at 0.21, regardless of application time, provided 99% vegetative control and 100% flower head reduction through July. Clopyralid plus 2,4-D controlled white clover better than 2,4-D alone. However, vegetative control and flower head reduction with clopyralid at reduced rates (0.03 or 0.05 kg ae/ha) plus 2,4-D were not acceptable (76% or less and 78% or less, respectively). Thus, clopyralid at 0.10 and 0.21 kg ae/ha will be necessary for acceptable white clover vegetation control and flower head reduction.

Research Article
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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