Compensatory growth of three grasses following simulated grazing in relation to soil nutrient availability
Authors: S. L. Hicks, and R. J. Reader
Journal: Canadian Journal of Botany
Summary of Methods: Three plant species (Poa pratensis, Poa compressa, Dactylis glomerata) were grown in three soil types, varying in nutrient contents, and then subjected to simulated grazing (clipping) to determine if their potential for regrowth depended on the soil type that they were growing in. Leaves of clipped plants had higher relative growth rates than unclipped plants, due to compensatory growth, but relative growth rates did not vary among soil types or plant species, indicating that soil nutrient levels did not affect plant growth rate as expected. Total leaf length and biomass at the end of the experiment was equal among soil types and between clipped and unclipped plants for both Poa species, but clipped Dactylis glomerata was not able to compensate enough growth to match the biomass of unclipped plants in the most nutrient rich soil. These results suggest that the ability for Poa species to recover from grazing does not depend on soil type but that Dactylis glomerata may be at a disadvantage when growing in nutrient rich soils as it cannot fully compensate for losses due to herbivory.
Article Summary / Main Points: None
Article Review Type: Refereed
Article Type: Experimental Research
Keywords: herbivory, regrowth, nutrients, poa pratensis, poa compressa, dactylis glomerata
Annotation: Plants were grown in a greenhouse during the experiment. Plants were clipped to 2-cm above the soil surface when they were 60 days old. Clipped and unclipped plants were harvested at 120 days of age.