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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 104 No. 2, p. 518-522
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    Received: Sept 16, 2011


    * Corresponding author(s): joe_knoll@yahoo.com
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doi:10.2134/agronj2011.0301

Vegetative Propagation of Napiergrass and Energycane for Biomass Production in the Southeastern United States

  1. Joseph E. Knoll *a and
  2. William F. Andersona
  1. a USDA-ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, P.O. Box 748, Tifton, GA 31793. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Abstract

With renewed interest in planting large areas to bioenergy crops, improvements in establishment methods are needed. Our objectives were to evaluate propagation methods with stem cuttings of napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.), and to determine the optimum planting date for napiergrass and energycane (Saccharum hybrid) in the southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States. A greenhouse study with ‘Merkeron’ napiergrass showed only minor differences between horizontal buried planting and vertical planting with one node exposed. However, cuttings taken from the lower portion of the parent stem were superior to younger material from the upper portion. The rooting hormone indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) did not affect propagation success. Nine napiergrass genotypes were compared for response to cutting length in the field (1, 2, 5, or 10 nodes cutting−1, with 10 nodes plot−1). Single-node cuttings tended to produce more shoots plot−1 initially in the fall, but many of these did not survive the winter. Generally, higher emergence percentages were achieved with 5- and 10-node cuttings. Seven genotypes of napiergrass and two of energycane were compared for response to planting date. Five biweekly plantings were made beginning 17 Sept. 2009, and six plantings beginning 2 Sept. 2010. In 2009 initial fall emergence was greater in earlier plantings, but the following spring, both early and late plantings had similar numbers of shoots cutting−1, while intermediate plantings had the least. In 2010 there was less variation in fall emergence among planting dates, but the following spring the earliest plantings had more shoots cutting−1 than later plantings.

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