jBulletin 375 September, 1942
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
"WILMON NEWELL, Director
ANNUAL LESPEDEZA FOR FLORIDA
FOR NORTHWEST FLORIDA
By J. D. WARNER
FOR PENINSULAR FLORIDA
By R. E. BLASER
Fig. 1.-Cows grazing a first-year planting of annual lespedeza on an estab-
lished carpet grass pasture, Experiment Station farm, Gainesville.
Single copies free to Florida residents on request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
EXECUTIVE STAFF BOARD OF CONTROL
Job- J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President o. the H. P. Adair, Chairman, Jacksonville
University8 R. H. Gore, Fort Lauderdale
Wilmon Newell, D.Sc., Directors N.B. Jordan, Quincy
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Asso. Director T. T.Scott, Live Oakln
W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Dir., Admin. Tho. Brand S eretary Tallahaee
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research J. T. Diamond Secretary, Tallahassee
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor3RA STAT
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Assistant Editor3 BRANCH STATIONS
Jefferson Thomas. Assistant Editor3 NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Managers D. Warner, M.S., Agronomist in Charge
K. H. Graham, Business Manager3 R. R. Kincaid, Pt .D., Asso. Plant Pathologist
Rachel MQuarrie, Accountant3 Elliott Whitehurst, B.S.A., Asst. An. Hush.4
W. C. McCormick, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
Jesse Reeves, Asst. Agron., Tobacco
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE W. H. Chalman, M.S., Asst. Agron.'
A ONOMY Mobile Unit, Monticello
AGRONOMY R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist
W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist3 Mobile Unit, Milton
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist J. H. Wallace, M.A., Associate Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist" CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED
W A. Carver, Ph.D., Ar r A. F. Camp, Ph.D.. Horticulturist in Charge
Roy E. Blaser, M.S., V. C. Jamison, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
G. B. Killinger, Ph. sociate .\ B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
Fred A. Clark, B.S Assistant-+-- \ W. L. Thompson, B.S., Associate Ento.
M| L usn-InnwnFtr F. F. Cowart, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
AN LL INSlTlyRIES )W. W. Lawless, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist4
A. L. Shealy, D.V. ., An. Industrialist 8 /R. K. Voorhees, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
R. B. Becker, Ph.D D Iry lStbhdtnman / C. R. Stearns, B.S.A., Chemist
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., ftechnolostQ\/ H. 0. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Hort.
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., tARi,.' T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Hort., Coastal
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Ve EVERGLADES STA., BELLE GLADE
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist EVERGLADES STA., BELLE GLADE
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3 J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Biochemist in Charge
T. R. Freeman, Ph.D., Asso. in Dairy Mfg. J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist
R. S. Glascock, Ph.D., Asso. An. Hush. F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agron.
D. J. Smith, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.8 Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugarcane
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Hush.' Physiologist
L. L. Rusoff, Ph.D., Asst. in An. Nutrition G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Tech. R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.
O. K. Moore, M.S., Asst. Poultry Husb. W. T. Forsee, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
B. S. Clayton, B.S.C.E., Drainage Eng.2
ECONOMICS. AGRICULTURAL F. S. Andrews, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.4
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agr. Economist' 3 Roy A. Blair, Ph.D., Asst. Agron.
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate SUB-TROPICAL STA., HOMESTEAD
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Associate Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
Max E. Brunk, M.S., Assistant S. J. Lynch, B.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
ECONOMICS. HOME E. M. Andersen, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1 W. CENT. FLA. STA., BROOKSVILLE
Ruth 0. Townsend, R.N., Assistant W. F. Ward, M.S., Asst. An. Husb. in Charge2
R. B. French, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist RANGE CATTLE STA., ONA
ENTOMOLOGY W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., An. Hush. in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Asso. Agron.
J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist' Gilbert A. Tucker, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.4
A. N, Tissot, Ph.D., Associate Floyd Eubanks, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
HORTICULTURE FIELD STATIONS
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist' Leesburg
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Associate M. N. Walker, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge4
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Hort. K. W. Loucks, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort. E. E. Hartwig, Ph.D., Asst. Agron. & Path.
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort. Plant City
J. Carlton Cain, B.S.A., Asst. Hort.' A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Victor F. Nettles. M.S.A.. Asst. Hort.' Hastings
Byron E. Janes, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.Hastings
F.Byron S. Lagassee, Ph.D., Asso. Hort. A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
H. M. Sell Ph.D., Asso. Hort. E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.
PLANT PATHOLOGY S. O. Hill, B.S., Entomologist2 8
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist' 3 A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asst. Entomologist2
George F. Weber, Ph.D., Plant Path.3 Bradenton
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist Jos. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Truck Hort. in
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist Charge
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
SOILS F. T. McLean, Ph.D., Horticulturist
DSOILS David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Chemist' s Sanford
Gaylord M. Volk M.S., Chemistt i ar
F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologists R. W. Rupreht, Ph.D., Chemist in Charge
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist W. B. Shippy, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist Jack Russell, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Associates Lakeland
L. H. Rogers, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemist4 E. S. Ellison, Meteorologist2
Richard A. Carrigan, B.S., Asso. Chemist
Geo. D. Thornton, M.S., Asst. Chemist 1 Head of Department.
Thos. Whitehead, Jr., M.S.A., Asst. 2 In cooperation with U. S.
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Soil Surveyor 3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
Olaf C. Olson, B.S., Soil Surveyor On leave.
f~r.L I.r *s.w.s.- -i*f'l'<
ANNUAL LESPEDEZA FOR FLORIDA
S For Northwest Florida ........................ 4
Varieties ..................... 4
C om m o n .- .--- .--- ----- --- .-------- ---------- ------------- ------ --------- -------- ----------.---------------. .. 4
T ennessee 76 ---------- ---...- .----- ----------------------------..- .-.-. -.-. -.-.. .-- .-- .... 4
SK obe 4------- ......... 4- -------------- - -- -- 4
Korean .....-----------------........ ......... 5
SS oils ... ................................................. ..................................... 5
Fertilizer ---------------------------------------------........................................ 5
Lespedeza for Permanent Pastures ........ ...... ................................ 6
Lespedeza for Temporary or Rotated Pastures ....................... 8
For Peninsular Florida .......................... .......---.. --... -.. ..... 10
Plan of Experim ents ........ ........................................ 10
C. 1939 Tests .......................................................... ..... 10
1941 Tests .......... ---------------- .....---........................................ 11
Results and Discussion --........- ...-- ... --------....... ..................------- .. 11
Soils for Lespedeza ....... ..........--- ........................... ................ 11
Growth and Composition of Lespedeza as Related to Fertilization 12
Sources of Lime and Phosphorus ........... -.............................-....... 16
Lespedeza Varieties for Sandy Soils ...........................- .........--..... 17
Seedbed, Inoculation and Planting Data ...-.............--- ...-- ...-- ..... ..... 18
Management of Lespedeza Pastures ........................................................ 19
Sum m ary .... --.... ... ..-....................................................................... ....... 20
Practical Suggestions for Establishing Annual Lespedeza Pastures .... 21
Annual lepedeza, a legume first reported in this country in
Georgia about 1846, is thought to have been accidentally intro-
duced from Japan, and frequently has been called "Japan" clover.
During the last 30 years this legume has gained favor as a pas-
ture, hay, and soil improvement plant throughout the South,
especially on heavier textured soils.
In Florida, lespedeza has been grown principally in the north-
western part of the state on Red Bay, Magnolia, Orangeburg,
Ruston, Tifton and similar soils. Lespedeza, especially the
common variety, generally volunteers in pastures and along road-
sides in that part of the state. As the heavier soil types under-
laid with clay grade into lighter soils,nearer the coast and in
peninsular Florida, only occasional and sparse stands may be
observed. However, recent research demonstrates that lespedeza
can be grown on low sandy soils.
Legumes, such as lespedeza, when properly inoculated, should
be utilized for pasture because they increase the nitrogen con-
tent of both the soil and associated grass growth and augment
the nutritive value of feed by supplying more proteins, minerals
and vitamins. Because the good nutritional characteristics of
lespedeza are well known, and because of the prevailing need for
more milk and beef, many farmers may wish to plant this crop.
4 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
FOR NORTHWEST FLORIDA
By J. D. WARNER
The occurrence of lespedeza throughout the general farming
section of Northwest Florida is evidence of its adaption to the
area. On the heavier soil types it is adding materially to the
herbage in many pastures, even where it has never been sown.
Where seedings have been made on lands prepared and fertil-
ized for improved pastures it has usually proven highly satis-
factory. Because of its dependability, general adaption to this
area and its high nutritive value, lespedeza is a valuable plant
in a well balanced pasture program.
Common.-This variety is found throughout Northwest
Florida and is best adapted fdr use in permanent pastures and
other grazing areas where volunteer stands are desired (Fig. 2).
It produces an abundance of seed on low spreading branches,
thus reseeding satisfactorily under close grazing. Because of
its character of growth, seeding habits and persistency, common
lespedeza is usually recommended for pastures in this part of
the state. However, the scarcity of seed and high prices in re-
cent years are factors to be considered in choosing a variety.
Since other varieties are more plentiful and cheaper in price they
may be substituted for common provided more frequent seedings
Tennessee 76.-This is a selection of the common lespedeza and
is distinguished from common by its fine stems and more erect
and taller growth. The seed are like common in general appear-
ance. This strain is well adapted to the area, affords excellent
grazing and volunteers reasonably well.
Kobe.-This variety has larger stems, leaves and seed than
the common or Tennessee 76 and grows much more erect and
taller than common. Because of its tall growth in thick stands,
cattle eat a large percentage of the seed, thus preventing it
from volunteering as readily as common. It makes a vigorous
growth and is well adapted for temporary pastures or for per-
manent pastures where frequent seedings are made. Kobe les-
pedeza is used extensively throughout the Southeastern states
as a hay, seed and soil improvement crop, consequently seed are
plentiful and cheaper in price than common.
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 5
Fig. 2.-A thick stand of common lespedeza following closely grazed oats.
Korean.-This variety of lespedeza is used more extensively
in the Northern states than in the South. It grows about as
large as Kobe. The seed are smaller than those of other var-
ieties. Korean lespedeza makes an earlier growth in the spring
and matures earlier in the fall than other annual lespedezas.
Apparently this variety is not well adapted as a pasture plant
in Northwest Florida.
Lespedeza grows on all soils of the general farming area of
Northwest Florida except the excessively drained or dry, light
sandy soils. However, it grows best on the heavier soil types
underlain with clay such as are found in the rolling hill lands of
the area. Moist sandy soils high in organic matter also produce
good growth. Where plantings are made on dry, light sandy
soils, lespedeza seedlings frequently die during periods of pro-
Although lespedeza is an acid tolerant plant it makes best
growth where lime (dolomite or finely ground high calcic agri-
cultural limestone) is applied at the rate of 1,000 to 2,000 pounds
6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
per acre along with 300 to 500 pounds of superphosphate and 50
to 100 pounds of muriate of potash. A well balanced fertilizer
increases both growth and the nutritive value of the forage. It
appears likely the latter result of fertilization is as important as
LESPEDEZA FOR PERMANENT PASTURES
One of the most useful places for lespedeza is in the establish-
ment of a grass-legume permanent pasture. Where the land is
prepared, fertilized and seeded to grasses and clover during the
fall months, lespedeza may be broadcast at the rate of 10 to 15
pounds per acre the following spring-February 15 to March 30.
With this practice (Fig. 3) lespedeza has given excellent grazing
the first year during the time required for clover and such
grasses as Carpet, Bahia and Bermuda to become established.
The grass seedlings usually make only limited growth the first
year, but as they form stolons and eventually a dense sod, the
lespedeza is gradually crowded out. The peak growth period of
lespedeza coincides with that of Carpet and Bahia grasses, thus
Fig. 3.-The cutover pine land was disked, fertilized and seeded to White
Dutch clover and Dallis grass during October. Common Lespedeza was
seeded the following February. The lespedeza-grass mixture following the
clovers furnished excellent grazing.
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 7
giving an advantage to the more aggressive stoloniferous
grasses. Moreover, these grasses are ready for grazing much
earlier in the spring than lespedeza. These factors make it diffi-
cult to maintain good stands of lespedeza in dense sods of Carpet
or Bahia grass in permanent pastures. Under these conditions
annual or biennial seedings may be found necessary to hold the
proper grass-legume balance.
Fig. 4.-Scattering lime on cutover pine land pasture. The undergrowth
was removed and the area was then fertilized and disked. Inoculated com-
mon lespedeza was planted in February.
There is an immense acreage in the cutover pine land areas
in Northwest Florida that can be made into valuable pastures
provided the undergrowth is removed and wiregrass and other
native grasses are killed by thorough disking (Fig. 3). Where
such lands are disked before and after applying lime and fertil-
izer (Fig. 4) and lespedeza is sown broadcast during late winter
or early spring, excellent pastures have been established.
Grasses may be seeded with lespedeza or at a later date. Les-
pedeza should not be grazed until the plants are well established.
It is usually ready for grazing during June or July and continues
to furnish grazing until frost.
High quality grazing may be obtained on areas covered with
Carpet, Bahia, Bermuda or Dallis grass sod by applying lime and
8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
fertilizer and seeding lespedeza as frequently as necessary to
hold the proper grass-legume balance.
LESPEDEZA FOR TEMPORARY OR ROTATED
Lespedeza is perhaps best suited for use in an oats-lespedeza
rotation. These two crops are helpful in controlling erosion and
can be planted on relatively steep slopes and rolling hillsides that
are not well suited for cultivated row crops (Fig. 5). Oats sown
in October cover the land and furnish valuable grazing during
the winter season (Fig. 6). The oats should be liberally fertil-
ized (200 to 400 pounds of a 0-14-10 or similar fertilizer) and
given additional topdressings of nitrogen. Lespedeza is sown
broadcast in the oats during the period February 15 to March 15
at the rate of 15 to 25 pounds per acre, without applying addi-
tional fertilizer. The oats should be grazed off completely by
April 30 and the cattle removed until lespedeza comes into pro-
Fig. 5.-Common lespedeza on rolling hill land not useful for cultivated
row crops. Lespedeza follows the oats crop which was grazed closely. The
fertilizer applied in the fall for the oats also furnished nutrients for the
Fig. 6.-Sheep graze rust-resistant oats during the winter and early
spring. Common lespedeza germinates in March and April and is grazed
from July 1 until mature in October.
Lespedeza affords excellent grazing during the period of July
to October. A thick stand giving complete ground coverage, as
shown in Figure 7, has high carrying capacity even though the
plants are not very tall. Moreover, lespedeza furnishes high
quality forage as exemplified by average daily gains of 1.01
pounds for mature cows to 1.21 pounds for yearling steers at the
North Florida Experiment Station (Fig. 7). The pasture on
which these gains were recorded has been in oats and lespedeza
for five consecutive years, lespedeza being seeded only the first
year. Each fall at the end of the grazing season the field was
disked, lightly to avoid turning the lespedeza seed too deep. Oats
were then sown with a grain drill and the lespedeza volunteered
the following spring. Such a rotation can also be used success-
fully in pecan groves (Fig. 8).
When there is sufficient acreage of oats-lespedeza pasture it
may be desirable to disk only one-third of the lespedeza land
Fig. 7.-Common lespedeza and native grass pasture furnishes excellent
feed, as exemplified by the growth and high daily gains of cattle.
Fig. 8.-Lespedeza following grazed off rust-resistant oats in pecan grove.
each fall for seeding to winter oats for grazing. The remaining
two-thirds of the lespedeza will be thicker and furnish earlier
feed than if it is disked and seeded to oats. However, this latter
system will furnish little winter feed.
In an oats-lespedeza pasture, native grasses usually grow with
lespedeza, thus supplying a considerable part of the pasturage.
The native grasses serve a useful place in making a well balanced
FOR PENINSULAR FLORIDA
By R. E. BLASER
Although lespedeza has been used primarily on the heavier
textured soils, recent research proves that this legume can be
grown on sandy soils. This portion of the manuscript deals with
preliminary lespedeza experiments conducted on some sandy soil
series of Peninsular Florida.
PLAN OF EXPERIMENTS
Three fertilizer, inoculation and variety test experiments were
started in 1939. Two of the experiments were located near
Gainesville on virgin Leon fine sand and virgin Bayboro fine
sand. The other on well drained Fellowship sand was located near
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 11
Sixteen fertilizer formulae consisting of rates and mixtures
of lime and fertilizers and of sources of lime and phosphates were
applied to each of four varieties of annual lespedeza-common,
Kobe, Tennessee 76 and Korean.
The fertilizers and lime were surface broadcast, after which
the sod-consisting of Carpet and native grasses-was lightly
disked and immediately seeded to lespedeza. The seeds were
packed into the soil with a roller. All seeding was done in May.
The Leon and Fellowship fine sandy soil areas were re-seeded in
Two additional experiments, one on Plummer fine sand near
Orlando and the other on Leon fine sand near Largo, were started
in the early spring of 1941. The Largo plot was fertilized and
seeded in February. The Carpet grass sod on this soil was lightly
disked, then fertilized and disked again, and immediately seeded.
The wiregrass on the Plummer soil was thoroughly disked in
December 1940 and the soil was fertilized in January. Several
seeding dates of lepedeza varieties were used on both experi-
ments. The seeds were inoculated with commercial culture at
five times the recommended rate, using water to make the cul-
ture adhere to the seeds.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
SOILS FOR LESPEDEZA
Good growth of lespedeza has been produced on tests con-
ducted on low phases of Leon fine sand at Gainesville and Largo,
Bayboro fine sand at Gainesville, and Plummer fine sand at
Orlando. All of these soils possessed a 4- to 10-inch layer of dark
surface soil relatively high in organic matter.1 Adequate moisture
is necessary for lespedeza during May and June, when there is
generally a critical dry period, and sandy soils high in organic
matter have higher water-holding capacity. During this period
lespedeza seedlings frequently die because of insufficient mois-
ture. Soils high in organic matter are desirable also because
they have a higher base exchange capacity, thus requiring less
Tests on a well drained Fellowship sand, low in organic matter,
resulted in lespedeza failures. The failures were attributed to
the dry nature of this soil and also to the fact that this area was
1 Sandy soils 2 to 4 percent or higher in organic matter are termed
"sandy soils high in organic matter".
12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
once an old cultivated field and thus heavily infested with root-
knot nematodes. All lespedeza varieties planted were severely
injured by nematodes in this test. Root-Knot injury did not
occur on the lespedeza growing on the other four soil types.
GROWTH AND COMPOSITION OF LESPEDEZA AS
RELATED TO FERTILIZATION
All tests on virgin soil types (Leon and Bayboro at Gaines-
ville, Leon at Largo and Plummer at Orlando) show the need
of supplying the elements calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
The growth of lespedeza with lime and fertilizer mixtures on the
Leon fine sand at Gainesville and Plummer fine sand at Orlando
is shown in photographs in Figures 9 and 10. Both tests in-
dicated that phosphorus, calcium and potassium are necessary
for satisfactory growth.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Fig. 9.-A test on a Leon soil at Gainesville shows that common lespe-
deza requires the elements calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Left to
right: (1) po fertilizer; (2) lime and potash; (3) lime and superphosphate;
(4) superphosphate and potash; (5) lime, superphosphate and potash.
(1) to, (5) all inoculated. In (6) the lespedeza was fertilized with lime,
superphosphate and potash, but not inoculated. Lime was applied at the
rate of 1,500 pounds and superphosphate and potash rates were equivalent
to 450 pounds of 0-16-8 fertilizer per acre.
Without phosphorus poor stands occur (Fig. 11). The plants
fertilized with lime and potash only were dwarfed and purplish
green in color, as shown in Fig. 12.
When only lime and phosphorus were supplied fair stands of
lespedeza were secured but the growth was not satisfactory.
Potassdinm deficiency symptoms are shown in Fig. 13.
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 13
When nitrogen was used with the lime and other fertilizers
the growth of grass was stimulated, resulting in grass competi-
tion and inferior lespedeza stands.
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 10.-Lespedeza grown on a Plummer soil series at Orlando shows
the need of supplying lime, phosphorus and potash. Ground limestone
appears as satisfactory as dolomitic limestone. The plant samples of Kobe
variety of lespedeza are representative of the following lime and fertilizer
treatments: (1) lime and potash; (2) lime and superphosphate; (3) super-
phosphate and potash; (4) ground limestone, superphosphate and potash;
and (5) dolomitic limestone, superphosphate and potash.
The sources of lime were applied at the rate of 1,500 pounds per acre.
The superphosphate and potash is equivalent to 450 pounds per acre of a
Fig. 11.-Seedling lespedeza plants with and without phosphate fer-
tilizer. Those on left received lime, superphosphate and potash; those on
right without superphosphate. From Plummer soil type near Orlando.
Ii! l! ilii
14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Fig. 12.-Phosphorus-deficient plants and leaves, as found when fer-
tilized with a mixture of 1,500 pounds ground limestone and 75 pounds
muriate of potash per acre, are shown on the left and center of photograph,
respectively. Normal growth resulted when 450 pounds of superphosphate
per acre was supplied in addition to lime and potash (right). Phosphorus-
deficient lespedeza plants which occurred in the presence of potassium
and calcium fertilizers on a Leon soil are dwarfed in size with short branch-
ing stems. The branching stems and leaves are clumped closely to the main
stem in an erect position as shown on left of photograph. Center shows
phosphorus-deficient leaves which are dwarfed in size and vary from a very
dull, dark green to a distinct purple and purplish green color. Low center
shows a phosphorus-deficient leaf which is purplish in color and possesses
dark purple mid-veins and petioles. Lower right shows normal leaves, which
are light green in color with white mid-veins.
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 15
The effects of fertilizer mixtures (combinations of lime, super-
phosphate and potash) on chemical composition of annual les-
pedeza are given in Tables 1 and 2.
The chemical composition of lespedeza on the Leon fine sand
without fertilization was 0.571% calcium, 0.122% phosphorus,
0.311% potassium, and 11.5% protein. That sown with lime
and fertilizer mixture consisting of 1,500 pounds of limestone
and 450 pounds of 0-16-8 fertilizer analyzed: calcium 1.014%,
phosphorus 0.175%, potassium 0.378% and protein 15.8%.
When lime and potash were supplied the phosphorus content of
lespedeza averaged 0.115% as compared with 0.175% where
superphosphate was supplied. The omission of potash from the
fertilizer mixture produced plants low in potassium. Lespedeza
plants grown with 450 pounds of 0-16-8 fertilizer were lower in
calcium than were plants grown with lime and 0-16-8 fertilizer
TABLE 1.-CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF LESPEDEZA AS INFLUENCED BY LIME
AND FERTILIZER MIXTURES ON LEON FINE SAND, GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.
Soil Treatment Chemical Constituents, Percent Dry Basis*
Pounds per Acre Cal- Phos- Potas- Pro- Mag-
cium phorus sium tein nesium Ash
450 0-16-8 ................................ 0.928 0.154 0.293 13.6 0.245 3.560
Lime and 450 0-16-8 .............. 1.014 0.175 0.378 15.8 0.376 4.330
Lime and 75 Potash ..-......-.... 1.071 0.115 0.354 12.3 0.351 4.159
Lime and 450 Superphosphatel 0.889 0.200 0.223 14.9 0.354 3.639
No Fertilizer -........................... 0.571 0.122 0.311 11.5 0.300 2.754
Fertilizer and lime applied in 1939.
Lime-1,500 pounds ground limestone per acre.
"*The mean differences for treatments in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen
content are highly significant as computed by the Analysis of Variance Method.
The phosphorus and potassium contents of lespedeza sub-
stantiate the deficiency symptoms of phosphorus and potassium,
respectively, shown in Figures 12 and 13.
The chemical composition of lespedeza grown on a Plummer
fine sand at Orlando with an application of three-fourths ton
of lime and 450 pounds of 0-16-8 fertilizer per acre averaged
1.462% calcium, 0.169% phosphorus, and 0.610% potassium.
16 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The omission of lime, phosphorus and potassium from the lime
and fertilizer mixture resulted in a lower calcium, phosphorus
and potassium content of lespedeza, respectively. The chemical
composition substantiates the need for calcium, phosphorus and
potassium as shown by the growth response in Figure 10.
The growth and fertilizer requirements of lespedeza on the
Leon fine sand at Largo are similar to those already given, except
that lime appeared to be the greatest limiting factor.
Fig. 13.-Potassium-deficient lepedeza plants and leaves, as found
when fertilized with a mixture of 1,500 pounds of lime and 450 pounds of
superphosphate per acre, are shown on the upper left and center. Normal
growth occurred when 75 pounds per acre of muriate of potash was sup-
plied in addition to lime and phosphorus (upper right).
Potassium-deficient plants were dwarfed in size; leaves were generally
mottled and greenish yellow in color, with subsequent burning or browning,
starting at tips of leaves (upper center). Gradual disappearance of chloro-
phyl and subsequent yellowing typifies incipient potassium deficiency.
SOURCES OF LIME AND PHOSPHORUS
Source of lime studies using equal quantities of ground lime-
stone and dolomitic limestone indicate that ground limestone pro-
duces slightly better growth on two soil types, Plummer and Leon
at Orlando and Largo, respectively (Fig. 10). On virgin soils,
calcium (supplied by ground limestone) is generally the more
important element limiting growth of lespedeza than magnesium,
which is supplied along with calcium by dolomitic limestone.
This statement is substantiated by the increased calcium content
of lespedeza fertilized with ground limestone as compared with
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 17
dolomitic limestone (Table 2). However, it should be remem-
bered that magnesium may be a factor limiting growth of
pasture plants on some soils. The occasional use of a light appli-
cation of dolomitic limestone in any pasture fertilizer program
to furnish magnesium is considered advisable.
TABLE 2.-THE EFFECT OF LIME AND FERTILIZER MIXTURES AND SOURCES
OF CALCIUM ON THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF LESPEDEZA ON A PLUM-
MER SOIL, ORLANDO, FLORIDA.
Chemical Constituents, Percent Dry
Soil Treatment Basis**
Pounds per Acre Ca Phos- Mag- Potas-
Calcium phorus nesium sium Protein
450 0-16-8* ...-....--- .--- ........-- .. 1.080 0.210 0.365 0.620 14.5
Lime and 450 0-16-8 .................... 1.462 0.169 0.277 0.610 12.5
Lime and 75 Muriate of Potash 1.182 0.129 0.242 0.720 12.0
Lime and- 450 Superphosphate .. 1.316 0.182 0.338 0.328 12.4
Lime and 450 0-16-16 ............... 1.233 0.197 0.530 0.693 14.8
Dolomite and 450 0-16-8 .............. 1.140 0.201 0.464 0.518 12.6
*Equivalent to 450 lbs. of 16% superphosphate and 72 lbs. muriate of potash (50% KsO).
Lime-ground limestone (93% CaCOs) applied at % ton per acre.
Dolomite-(36% MgCOa 56% CaCOs), applied at % ton per acre.
**The mean differences for treatments in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium
are highly significant as computed by the Analysis of Variance Method.
Characteristic growth responses of annual lespedeza with
sources of phosphate on Bayboro fine sand and Plummer fine
sand are shown in Figures 14 and 15. Growth responses when
using rock phosphate, colloidal phosphate and basic slag, indicate
that these three materials supply the phosphorus and calcium
requirements when used at high rates per acre.
Excellent lespedeza growth also was produced on the Plummer
soil near Orlando when treated with 1,500 pounds of rock phos-
phate, 750 pounds ground limestone and 300 pounds of a 0-16-12
fertilizer per acre, or with 1,500 pounds rock phosphate, 750
pounds of lime and 72 pounds muriate of potash.
Lespedeza growth responses using rock and colloidal phos-
phates were similar.
LESPEDEZA VARIETIES FOR SANDY SOILS
The varieties, common, Kobe, Tennessee 76 and Korean, were
tested at Gainesville and Brooksville. Kobe and common vari-
eties were also tested at Largo and Orlando.
18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 14.-Lespedeza growth indicates that high rates of rock phosphate,
colloidal phosphate or basic slag supply phosphorus and calcium needs.
Growth of Kobe lespedeza plants typifies responses from fertilizer treat-
ments: (1) 1,500 pounds ground limestone and 450 pounds 0-16-8; (2) 4,500
pounds rock phosphate and 75 pounds potash; (3) 3,000 pounds rock phos-
phate and 75 pounds potash; (4) 3,000 pounds colloidal phosphate and 75
pounds potash; and (5) 1,000 pounds basic slag and 75 pounds potash. The
rates of fertilizer are on one acre basis. From a Plummer soil type near
Characteristic growth responses of the four varieties taken
from the Bayboro fine sand are shown in Figure 16. Kobe pro-
duced the largest yield, when grown as a hay plant, but common
and Tennessee 76 are generally recognized as superior for graz-
ing. The Korean lespedeza has never made good growth in
SEEDBED, INOCULATION AND PLANTING DATE
The stimulated growth from inoculated seed on Bayboro fine
sand is shown in Figure 16. In this experiment about 90 percent
of the uninoculated plants failed to survive because of a lack of
nodule development on roots and consequent nitrogen starvation.
On Leon fine sand at Gainesville uninoculated lespedeza did not
fail, but very meager growth resulted the first year (Fig. 9).
Both tests show that seed inoculation is very beneficial.
Lespedeza should be planted in late winter or early spring,
about the time of the last killing frost. Seed planted in December
and January frequently fail to produce stands because of seed
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 19
germination during a warm period and a subsequent heavy frost
causing mortality of seedlings. Tests show that the best plant-
ing dates range between February and April, depending on the
location in Florida. On sods seedings should be made before
grass growth starts to prevent grass competition and subsequent
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 15.-Growth responses of the Kobe variety of lespedeza when fer-
tilized with sources of calcium and phosphorus on a Bayboro fine sand at
Gainesville, Florida. (1) 1 ton lime, 500 pounds basic slag and 75 pounds
muriate of potash; (2) 3,000 pounds rock phosphate and 75 pounds muriate
of potash; (3) 3,000 pounds colloidal phosphate and 75 pounds muriate of
potash; (4) 1,500 pounds lime and 450 pounds 0-16-8; and (5) 750 pounds
lime and 450 pounds 0-16-8 fertilizer per acre.
When lespedeza is planted on newly tilled soil the soil should
be well packed with a roller or drag before planting to insure
good surface moisture relationships. Under these conditions
plantings may be made as late as June, as the grasses will not
shade the lespedeza seriously.
It is advisable to cover the lespedeza seed lightly or plant
during a wet period. Covering the seed encourages better ger-
mination and aids in protecting the inoculating bacteria on the
seed from drought injury.
MANAGEMENT OF LESPEDEZA PASTURES
The Carpet or other grass sod with which lespedeza is planted
should be grazed closely in early spring (February and March)
20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
before lespedeza germinates. Grazing should then be withheld
until the lespedeza seedlings are four or more inches in height.
If close grazing is not practiced before lespedeza germinates the
grass must be retarded by a light disking. Grazing should be
light during early fall when lespedeza produces seed.
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 16.-Lespedeza requires inoculation: (1) Koke lepedeza not inoc-
ulated and (2) inoculated.
Korean lespedeza has not produced satisfactory growth as shown by
(5). The varieties of lespedeza typified by the photograph are as follows:
(2) Kobe; (3) Tennessee 76; (4) common; and (5) Korean. Fertilized with
1,500 pounds of lime and 450 pounds of 0-16-8 fertilizer per acre.
Annual lespedezas should be used for pastures in Florida be-
cause they increase the productivity and quality of herbage and
also add nitrogen to the soil to augment grass growth.
Growth and composition data show that the soil must be
supplemented with calcium, phosphorus and potassium to grow
lespedeza. Good growth may be anticipated with a soil treat-
ment of one-half to one ton of lime and 300 to 600 pounds of
a 0-16-8, 0-14-10 or similar fertilizer. Preliminary tests showed
that high rates of rock or colloidal phosphates furnished ample
phosphorus for lespedeza on sandy acid soils. These two sources
of phosphate also furnished a portion of the calcium require-
ments, but the addition of lime gave improved growth. Satis-
Annual Lespedeza for Florida Pastures 21
factory growth resulted when treated with basic slag and potash,
or with lime, basic slag and potash.
The calcium, phosphorus and potassium content of lespedeza
was increased greatly by fertilization with those elements. When
superphosphate or potash was omitted from the soil treatment,
phosphorus or potassium deficiency symptoms occurred.
Kobe, common and Tennessee 76 varieties of lespedeza made
excellent growth when inoculated seed was planted on fertilized
soil in early spring or late winter. Korean variety of lespedeza
was found unadapted.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR ESTABLISHING
ANNUAL LESPEDEZA PASTURES
Lespedeza should be planted on the heavy textured soils, on
soils underlaid with clay; or on the moist to wet sandy soils
of the flat pine woods which are high in organic matter. Plant-
ing may be made on closely grazed grass sods or on newly pre-
pared land, provided the seedbed is firm. To establish and main-
tain lespedeza pastures, the following practices are necessary:
1. To establish lespedeza apply one-half to one ton of dolomitic
or ground, calcic limestone and 300 to 600 pounds of a 0-14-10
or similar fertilizer, or its equivalent.
2. To maintain lespedeza apply 200 to 400 pounds of a 0-14-10
or similar fertilizer or its equivalent annually. Avoid use of
nitrogen fertilizers, since nitrogen stimulates the grasses and
causes poor stands of lespedeza.
3. Other sources of phosphates, such as rock and colloidal,
may be used on sandy acid soils when applied at the rate of
3,000 pounds per acre with potash, or preferably as suggested
4. Plant in February or March when planting with grass sods
or in a lespedeza-oats rotation. Plantings may be made as late
as June on newly prepared seedbeds where grass competition
is not a factor.
5. In a lespedeza-oats rotation the oats should be fertilized
with 300 to 400 pounds of a 0-14-10 or similar fertilizer in the
fall. This fertilizer will furnish the nutrients required for lespe-
deza in the subsequent spring. The oats should be topdressed
22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
with 100 pounds per acre of nitrate of soda or sulfate of am-
monia in early spring.
6. For pasture, plant 10 to 25 pounds of the common lespedeza
per acre. One-half of this seed may be Kobe to reduce the seed
cost. Kobe furnishes excellent grazing the initial year but it
does not set seed satisfactorily under close grazing management.
Varieties similar to common, such as Tennessee 76, are satis-
factory, but Korean has produced inferior results in all tests.
7. For hay, plant 10 to 25 pounds of the Kobe variety per acre.
The writers express their appreciation to W. E. Stokes, head of the
Agronomy Department, who offered constructive criticism; to W. A. Leukel
of the Agronomy Biochemical Laboratory, under whose direction the chemi-
cal analyses were made; and to R. E. Billington for field assistance.