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Crop Science Abstract -

Adaptation of Iron-Efficient and -Inefficient Lovegrass Strains to Calcareous Soils1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 22 No. 3, p. 672-676
    Received: June 8, 1981

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  1. P. W. Voigt,
  2. C. L. Dewald,
  3. J. E. Matocha and
  4. C. D. Foy2



Iron chlorosis can occur in Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees when cultivars like ‘Morpa,’ ‘Ermelo,’ or common are grown on calcareous soils. As a result, forage yields are greatly reduced and stands are lost in as little as 1 or 2 years. Our objectives were to determine if lovegrass strains found to be iron efficient as seedlings in greenhouse studies were better adapted than inefficient strains to calcareous soils in the field and if genetic differences in iron efficiency were of sufficient importance to consider improving iron efficiency as a worthwhile breeding objective.

Iron-efficient and iron-inefficient strains were grown on a calcareous soll at Beeville, Tex., and a slightly acid soil (control treatment), a calcareous soil, and the same calcareous soil with all plants follar sprayed with ferrous sulfate at Woodward, Okla. Selections rated as iron inefficient in the greenhouse when grown on calcareous soils in the field were, on the average, more chlorotic, lower in forage production, and less persistent than iron-efficlent strains grown on the same soils or inefficient strains grown on a noncalcareous soil. However, performance of the strains was not always consistent when grown on different calcareous soils. This was true for both iron-efficient and iron-inefficient strains. In tests conducted on calcareous soils, the vigor of iron-efficient selections was dramatically better than that of iron-inefficient strains, suggesting that this characteristic could be of economic benefit and should be considered in selecting new weeping lovegrass cultivars intended for use in areas where calcareous soils occur.

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