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S7 Technical Assistance

Management Recommendations for Running Buffalo Clover in Ohio

PDF version

 

Background

Running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) was listed as a federally endangered species in 1987. This stoloniferous perennial occurs in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia in one of two fairly distinct habitats (lawn or wooded). Consistent management of these different habitat types is critical for maintaining running buffalo clover populations. The following recommendations were compiled in Ohio to guide property owners and land managers in the management and recovery of this endangered species.

 

Lawn Sites (cemeteries, parks, old home sites, etc.)

 

Mowing – We recommend a mowing regime that reduces competition to the running buffalo clover (RBC) and allows for flowering and seed set. Mowers should be set at no lower than 3 inches.

 

Schedule:

Once in Mid-April
Once during the first week of May
Once during the last week of June
Anytime after July 1 is acceptable

 

Avoid the use of herbicides around RBC.

 

Control invasive plants manually in the vicinity of RBC. Typical invasive groundcovers growing among RBC include periwinkle, Japanese honeysuckle, and wintercreeper.

 

We do not recommend burning as an effective management strategy for existing populations. RBC is not a prairie species and occurs in habitats that are not necessarily adapted to fire
(e.g. mesic woodlands). Unlike fire-adapted species, much of the RBC plant structure is above ground. Fire will most likely kill the plants that are growing at the site.

 

Soil disturbances/scraping may be beneficial to existing populations. Experiments involving various types and levels of soil disturbance should be conducted by experienced researchers.

 

Wooded Sites
(mesic woods, sites near streams, etc.)

 

We recommend removal of individual, select trees to maintain a "dappled shade" environment. Cut stumps should be treated with a systemic herbicide to prevent resprouting.

 

Control invasive plants through manual pulling (e.g. garlic mustard) or selective herbicide application on cut stems (e.g. Amur honeysuckle).

 

No foliar herbicide application within 25 feet of RBC sites.

 

No burning (see above).

 

Minimal soil disturbance (see above).

Special thanks to the Ohio RBC Management Group:
M. Becus, A. Cusick, R. Glotzhober (Ohio Historical Society), J. Klein and J. Mundy (Hamilton Co. Park District), G. Schneider and M. Moser (ODNR-Division of Natural Areas & Preserves), M. Vincent (Miami University), and J. Windus (ODNR-Division of Wildlife)

 

Contact:
Sarena M. Selbo
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(614)469-6923 x 17
sarena_selbo@fws.gov

 

Back to Conservation Guidance page

 

Last updated: April 1, 2014