Growth and Development of Meadow Plants as Affected by Environmental Variables1
- F. B. Gomm2
The low production of seasonally flooded meadows is a problem in many locations throughout the world. An understanding of the effects of environmental factors on the growth and production of the meadow species will aid in developing practices to increase forage production. Controlled studies were undertaken to determine the effect of soil moisture, temperature, irradiance, and soil fertility on the phenological development and growth of slender sedge (Carex praegracilis W. Boott), beardless wildrye (Elymus triticoides Buckl.), Nevada bluegrass (Poa nevadensis Vasey ex Scribn.), and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.). Potted plants were grown in growth rooms under various environmental conditions: temperatures of 15 and 30 C, irradiances of 4.2 and 42.0 W/m2; soil moisture levels with amounts of moisture added approximating the volume of water that the soil would retain at 0, 0.3, and 10 bars; fertilizer-N at rates equivalent to 0, 110, 220. and 440 kg/ha. Plant responses were evaluated by number of leaves per stem, number of stems per plant, leaf area per plant, plant height, and herbage yield at the end of three growth periods. In the controlled-study conditions, mortality of bluegrass plants was high when grown with 4.2 W/m2. Phenological development progressed faster and plant growth-rate increased when the irradiance received was increased to 42.0 W/m2. Canarygrass, however, continued in a vegetative stage regardless of temperature or light treatments. Increasing temperature from 15 to 30 C increased the rate of growth for plants receiving 42.0 W/m2, but the increased temperature also increased the mortality of all species receiving 4.2 W/m2. Fertilizer rates and soil-moisture levels generally had no significant effect on plant-growth parameters when plants, except for canarygrass, were grown at 15 C or with 4.2 W/m2. The greatest rate of growth was produced when plants were grown at 30 C with 42.0 W/m2. Under these conditions, yields tended to increase with fertilizer, and yields from canarygrass increased as fertilizer rates and soil-moisture levels increased.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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