Effects of nitrogen on leaves, dry matter allocation and regrowth dynamics in Trifolium repens L. and Lolium perenne L. in pure and mixed swards

M. Nassiri, A. Elgersma

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13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of applied nitrogen (N) on dynamics of regrowth, dry matter (DM) allocation and leaf characteristics of grass and clover were investigated. Binary mixtures and monocultures of the diploid perennial ryegrass cultivars Barlet (erect) and Heraut (prostrate) and the white clovers cvs. Alice (large-leaved) and Gwenda (small-leaved) were established in a field experiment. Grass monocultures received three levels of N application (0, 140 or 280 kg N ha-1), and mixtures 150 kg N ha-1 ( N) or no N (-N). N was applied split over the season. Application of N reduced the average clover content in the DM of the mixtures from 43 to 12ÐDue to defoliation, clover lost relatively more leaf area and less DM than grass, leading to a lower clover fraction in the leaf area index (LAI) of the stubble at the start of the next regrowth. In the -N mixtures, the clover fraction of the biomass and of the LAI increased within successive regrowth periods. In the N mixtures, large-leaved Alice maintained its content during summer, mainly due to its greater petiole length which increased in response to N. The opposite was observed for Gwenda. At each harvest, the content of small-leaved Gwenda in the LAI and DM was lower than in the stubble at the start of regrowth. The allocation of DM to the petioles of Alice led to a decrease in the leaf weight ratio (LWR) in the N mixtures, while Gwenda had a higher LWR and specific leaf area (SLA) in the N mixtures than in the -N mixtures. There was little or no effect of ryegrass cultivar on competition with white clover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-121
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume246
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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