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DoubleRoot hybrid clovers can boost carbon sequestration in urban developments

DoubleRoot is a world-first hybrid clover combining white clover (Trifolium repens) and Caucasian clover (Trifolium ambiguum) to bring the benefits of both to Germinal’s amenity mixtures. 

Incorporating the durability of Caucasian clover, DoubleRoot ensures that amenity spaces can benefit from white clover’s ability to enhance soil structure and fix atmospheric nitrogen in a wider range of soil and climatic conditions. 

DoubleRoot’s unique ability to improve soil structure with above-ground stolons and underground rhizomes produces a healthier soil environment and increases microbial activity. Ultimately, healthy soil produces healthy plants. 

DoubleRoot fixes free clean nitrogen from the air, reducing the need for applications of costly and environmentally harmful chemical nitrogen. 

Mixtures are mutually beneficial for grass and clover 

While other plants benefit from being sown with white clover, does clover benefit from being sown with other plants, such as grasses? 

Studies suggest there is a benefit and mixtures of grasses and clover perform better in combination than as separately sown species. The benefits do not stop there, though, and research supports the fact that clovers and grasses transport carbon into the ground quicker when grown together than they do as a monoculture. 

A study conducted by De Deyn et al (2012) at Wageningen University and Research Centre showed that when mixed with grasses, white clover transported carbon it had absorbed during the day three times faster than when it was grown as a monoculture. 

It was also observed that plant communities lost less carbon through plant and soil respiration if they were composed of a mixture of species rather than a monoculture. 

Legumes accumulate longer lasting soil carbon  

At Penn State University, a similar study by Zhang et al (2022) sought to determine the relationship between different cover crops and the type of soil organic carbon they help to store. The research showed that mixtures containing legumes accumulated more microbial-derived carbon in mineral-associated organic matter. 

This form of soil carbon is known to remain in the soil for much longer periods of time – decades or even centuries. As opposed to particulate organic matter, which is carbon derived from senesced plant material that drops to the soil and is often decomposed within a matter of years. So, not stored for the longer term. 

While these studies strengthen the case that sowing any mixture increases soil carbon content, it appears that mixture diversity is key to more rapid and longer-term carbon storage. 

For instance, a road verge mixture containing clover and other legumes is more beneficial to carbon sequestration than a monoculture of mown grass. 

At Germinal, we have expertly formulated AberSustain and A18 as DoubleRoot mixtures that can deliver climate smart benefits for landscape architects looking to build more sustainable developments. Click to learn more about either mixture or contact us here with any questions