Evaluation of the Replacement Ability and Comparison the Growth and Quality Characteristics of Clover Lawn with Common Grass Lawn in Landscape to Reduce the Mowing Costs

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Horticultural Science and Landscape, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Agricultural and Natural Resources Research Center, Mashhad, Iran


Turfgrasses, as one of the important components of urban landscapes, have played a vital role in this regard. However, the main problems of turfgrass development are the cost of turfgrass seeds, maintenance costs such as moving, as well as the high water requirement in arid and semi-arid regions. Thus, the reduction of lawn culture in the landscape is one of the decision has taken in parks and green spaces organization of Tehran, Isfahan and even Mashhad. For over ten years, researchers have been looking for alternatives to conventional grass lawns to reduce the high cost of maintenance especially irrigation cost in urban landscapes. According to many researches, one of the potential ground cover alternatives that might be used instead of turfgrass is White Clover. Clover (Trifolium spp.) from Fabaceae family is a genus of about 300 species.
Materials and Methods
The aim of this experiment was to compare three common turfgrasses with two clover varieties as turf replacement to reduce landscape maintenance cost specially moving cost. So, some growth and qualitative factors of clover lawn: Trifolium repens var. Calway and Trifolium repens var. Pipolina (micro clover) and three turfgrasses of Festuca arundinacea L. and Lolium perenne L. and commercial sport turf mixture (from NAk-Nederland Ltd.) were compared together. This research was conducted in randomized complete block design with three replications in the research field of the Department of Horticultural Science and Landscape Engineering‚ Faculty of Agricultural‚ Ferdowsi University of Mashhad‚ Mashhad‚ Iran, during 2016 and 2017. The site (59º 38′ E and 36º 16 ′ N; elevation 989 m) is located in an arid and semi- arid region with mean annual rainfall 233.8 mm and long term averages of maximum and minimum temperature are 22.5 ºC and 9.3 ºC‚ respectively. Turfgrass plots were established by directly sowing the seeds in April, 2016. The planting rate of the seedling considering their pure live seeds (PLS) were 45 g.m-2 for Lolium perenne, 34 g.m-2 for Festuca arundinacea, 6.5 g.m-2 for Trifolium repens, 5.5 g.m-2 for micro clover and 39 g.m-2 for commercial mixture of sport turf. The plots were 1 m2 (1m×1m) in size and were prepared after plowing and leveling the soil. The seeds were hand sown and covered with a thin layer of leaf compost and sand.
Results and Discussion
According to the results in the first evaluation of emergence percentage, Lolium perenne had the highest emergence percentage. After 36 days from culture, all plants had 92-98 % coverage which did not have any significant difference among grasses with clover lawns. In terms of density, uniformity and weed density, there was no significant difference between the studied plants. In the other hands, white clover showed the best quality after clipping in both years. At the point of growth index, which have done in this experiment by measuring height and dry weight of clipping, grass lawns had the higher growth index in compered to clover lawn in both years. Festuca arundinacea and Lolium perenne had the highest growth index and white and micro clover had the lowest growth. Also, with air warming, Festuca arundinacea became dominated plant in height and clipping dry weight. In July, Festuca arundinacea produced the highest clipping dry weight by 40 gr.m-2, Lolium perenne (19.52), commercial sport turf (15.68), white clover (6.24) and micro clover (0.36) gr.m-2.
One of the problems of landscape is reduction of maintenance costs such as mowing. So, the low growth of white and micro clover is a positive factor in reduction of the moving costs than turfgrasses. Also, the coverage and proper density of clover lawns are similar to grass lawns and did not have a significant difference with them. The character of low growth can be effective in reduction of irrigation costs in white and micro clover, which requires more research and examination in future. This is a positive point in the white clover and micro clover that do not need to move or cut every months. Almost, clover moving is recommended for removing their flower. Therefore, it is recommended to use white and micro clover as a replacement with less maintenance costs in landscape. Finally, the results of cultivation of grass and clover as monoculture in this study can be used to produce clover-grass mixtures suitable for the climate of our country (arid and semi-arid regions), instead of importing turf mixtures from European countries.


Main Subjects


    1. Abbasi R. 2009. Genetic diversity of clover genetic resources held by National Plant Gene Bank of Iran with emphasis on agronomic traits. Iranian Journal of Rangelands and Forests Plant Breeding and Genetic Research 17(1): 70-87. (In Persian)
    2. Akgun , Tosun M., and Sengul S. 2008. Comparison of Agronomic Characters of Festulolium, Festuca Pratensis Huds. And Lolium Multiflorum Lam. Genotypes Under High Elevation Conditions In Turkey. Bangladesh Journal of Botany 37(1): 1-6.
    3. Alavi , Saffari Gh., and Ebrahimi S. 2009. Cultivation of Forage Plants. Sepehr Tehran Publishing House. Iran. (In Persian)
    4. Almansouri , Kinet J.M., and Lutts S. 2001. Effect of salt and osmotic stresses on germination in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). Plant Soil 231: 243-254. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010378409663.
    5. Azani , Abdiyan Rad M., and Maleki M. 2009. Urban green space planning with emphasis on hot and dry areas of southern Iran. Quarterly Journal of Geographic Space 9(31): 1-26. (In Persian)
    6. Brown C., Gregory P.J., Cooper P.J.M., and Keatinge J.D.H. 1989. Root and shoot growth and water use of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) grown in dryland conditions: Effects of sowing date and genotype. Agricultural Science 113: 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859600084598.
    7. Center for Turfgrass Science. Available online at: http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/calculating-seed-price. Accessed 14 November, 2017.
    8. Dernoeden D., Caroll M.J., and Krouse J.M. 1994. Moving of three fescue species for low management turf sites. Crop Science 34: 1645-1649. https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci1994.0011183X003400060041x.
    9. Domiri Ganji H., Babaei S., Metaji A., and Rashidi F. 2010. Evaluation of green space changes in Tehran’s second district using aerial photos and satellite data. Journal of Natural Resources Science and Technology 5(2): 13-24. (In Persian)
    10. Ellis A., and Roberts E.H. 1981. The quantification of ageing and survival in orthodox seeds. Seed Science and Technology 9: 373-409. DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2013.23014.
    11. Falahian 2008. Lawn (Technology, construction and maintenance(. Jahad publication of Ferdowsi university of Mashhad. Iran.
    12. Haghighi 2004. The use of mushroom vermicompost (SMC) for the cultivation of grass by hydromalching. Master's Degree in Horticulture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Iran. (In Persian)
    13. Hakimi Meybodi M.H., and Sadeghi Nia M. 2009. Identification of pasture plants of Iran. University Publication Center. 189. (In Persian)
    14. Hall D., and Wiesner L.E. 1990. Relationship between seed vigor tests and field performance of Regard meadow bromegrass. Crop Science 30: 967-970. https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci1990.0011183X003000050001x.
    15. Heijden A., and Roulund N. 2010. Genetic gain in agronomic value of forage crops and turf. In: C. Huyghe (ed.). A Review of Sustainable Use of Genetic Diversity. Forage and Turf Breeding 247-260.
    16. Khajeh-Hosseini M., Powell A.A. and Bingham I.J. 2003. The interaction between salinity stress and seed vigor during germination of soybean seeds. Seed Science Technology 31: 715-725. http://dx.doi.org/10.15258/sst.2003.31.3.20.
    17. Khalil , Bhat N.R., Abdal M.S., Grina R., Al-mulla L., Al-Dossery S., Bellen R., Cruz R., D’Cruz G., George A., and Christopher A. 2006. Evaluating the suitability of groundcovers in the arid environments of Kuwait. European Journal of Science Research 15: 412-419.
    18. Khodabande 2009. Cultivation of forage plants. Iranian Agricultural Science publication .307. (In Persian)
    19. Khorramdel , Nezami A., and Mollafilabi A. 2014. Evaluation of Germination Characteristics for some Khorasan's Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) Seed Landraces under Fall Planting Dates. Research in Crop Ecosystem 1(1): 55-67. (In Persian)
    20. Khosh-Khui M. 2005. Plant propagation: Principle and practices. Shiraz University, Iran. (In Persian)
    21. Liu , Wang CH., and Li- ao. 2014. A plant species (Trifolium repens) with strong enrichment ability for mercury. Ecological Engineering 70: 349-350. DOI :10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.06.029.
    22. Macke A. 2016. Evaluation of a cool-season grass-white clover mixture for low-nitrogen input lawns. MSc thesis. Purdue University. Indiana.
    23. Martiniello , D’Andrea E. 2006. Cool-season turf grass species adaptability in Mediterranean environments and quality traits of varieties. European journal of Agronomy, 25: 234–242.


    1. Meyer A. 1989. Breeding disease-resistant, persistent low-maintenance turf. Ground- Maint, 24: 68- 139.
    2. Molazadeh 2012. Forage Trees (Comprehensive Reference of Crops): Volume 3. Publications on education and agricultural promotion. (In Persian)
    3. Morris N., and Shearman R.C 2000. NTEP Turfgrass Evaluation Guidelines. Available online at: www.ntep.org/pdf/ratings. Accessed: 30 August, 2013.
    4. Newell J., Crossley F.E.M., and Jone A.C. 1996. Selection of grass species, cultivars and Mixtures for lawn tennis court. Journal of Sport Turf Research Institution 72: 42-60.
    5. Riahinia , Khazaee H.R., and Razmjoo KH. 2011. Effect of salinity on germination and seedling growth of populations of turfgrasses. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 9(2): 222-228. (In Persian)
    6. Saeedi Pooya E., Tehranifar A., Gazanchian A., Kazemi F., and Shoor M. 2016. The investigation of growth and aesthetics factors of cover plant of white clover compared with different grasses for use in urban landscape. 1 st international and 2nd national ornamental plants congress. 1-5. (In Persian)
    7. Saeedi Pooya E., Tehranifar A.‚ Shoor M., Selahvarzi Y., and Ansari H. 2013. The use of native turf mixtures to approach sustainable lawn in urban landscape. Journal of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 12: 532-536. DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2013.06.009.
    8. Salehi , and Khosh-Khui M. 2004. "Turf monoculture cool-cool and cool-warm season seed mixture establishment and growth responses. Horticulteral Science 39(7): 1732-1735. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.39.7.1732.
    9. Samiyani , Ansari H., Azizi M., Hasheminia S.M., and Selahvarzi Y. 2013. Effect of drought stress on some biochemical indices in four species of cover plants (Lolium Perenne, Potentila, White Clover and Frankenia) with green field use ability. Science and Technology of Greenhouse Culture 15: 101-101. (In Persian)
    10. Selahvarzi , Tehranifar A., Ghazanchian A., and Arooei H. 2008. Drought resistance mechanisms of native and commercial turfgrasses under drought stress: Ι. Root responses. Journal of Horticulture 22(2): 1-12. (In Persian)
    11. Sincik , and Acikgoz E. 2007. Effects of white clover inclusion on turf characteristics, nitrogen fixation, and nitrogen transfer from white clover to grass species in turf mixtures. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 38: 1861– 1877. https://doi.org/10.1080/00103620701435621.
    12. Tehran Parks and Green space organization. 2006. Lawning principles. Islamic Republic army publication. Iran. (In Persian)
    13. Turgeon J. 1999. Turfgrass management. Prentic Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
    14. Turner , and Carroll M. 2015. Microclover-tall fescue lawn in the mid- Atlantic region, university of Marylan
    15. Vahdati Mashhadian N., Tehranianfar A., Nemati H., and Selahvarzi Y. 2011. Effect of salinity stress on morphological, physiological and biochemical responses of three types of clover (vegetation cover) with potential for use in green spaces. Master's Thesis. Mashhad Ferdowsi University. Iran. (In Persian)


  • Receive Date: 27 June 2018
  • Revise Date: 27 August 2018
  • Accept Date: 26 September 2018
  • First Publish Date: 05 April 2021