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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Nitrogen Nutrition and Growth Relations of Tall and Intermediate Wheatgrasses1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 62 No. 3, p. 353-356

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  1. L. O. Hylton Jr.,
  2. D. R. Cornelius and
  3. A. Ulrich2



Alkar tall wheatgrass, Agropyron elongatum (Host.) Beauv., and Greenar intermediate wheatgrass, A. intermedium (Host.) Beauv., grown separately in nutrient solutions to which NO3- had been added at 0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 8.0, 16, or 32 meq of NO3- per liter. Other nutrients were present in ample amounts. The two grasses were grown concurrently in full greenhouse sunlight for 36 days. Total dry matter production (tops + roots) was significantly reduced with less than 4.0 meq of NO3- per liter. Average maximum top weight (oven-dry) was 2.02 g per plant for tall wheatgrass and 2.76 for intermediate wheatgrass. These top weights were obtained with 8, 16, or 32 meq of NO3- per liter. In a common and favorable environment, growth of intermediate wheatgrass was more rapid than that of tall wheatgrass.

Accumulation and distribution of nitrate-N varied slightly within the plants. At high NO3- treatments, matured blades of tall wheatgrass had the highest nitrate-N concentration (14,600 ppm) whereas stems of intermediate wheatgrass had the highest (16,000 ppm) concentration. Immature blades had the lowest nitrate-N concentration, about 8,200 and 9,200 ppm, respectively, for tall and intermediate wheatgrasses. Recently matured blades of intermediate wheatgrass had higher percentages of total-N, nonsoluble-N (protein-N), and crude protein than did those of tall wheatgrass. Soluble-N and nitrate-N concentrations were generally higher in tall wheatgrass than in intermediate wheatgrass.

The critical nitrate-N concentrations for growth of these two wheatgrasses is about 500 ppm nitrate-N in recently matured blade tissue, dry basis.

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