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Growth response of alfalfa medicago sativa to duration of soil flooding and to temperature



Growth response of alfalfa medicago sativa to duration of soil flooding and to temperature



Agronomy Journal 73(2): 329-332



The growth of roots and tops was determined in a factorial greenhouse and growth chamber experiment with treatments for duration of flooding and temperature. Five wk old alfalfa plants, potted in pasteurized soil, were flooded to the soil surface for 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 days at temperatures of 16, 21 and 27.degree. C, and for 3, 6, 9 and 12 days at 32.degree. C. Root and top dry weights (DW) of flooded and control plants were measured upon draining. Three wk after draining, the plants were cut to a 2.5 cm stubble and top DW was measured. After 2 subsequent weeks of regrowth, top and root DW were again measured. Root growth stopped during flooding. In the 3 wk following drainage, the rate of top growth of plants was reduced by 50% with 8 days of flooding at 16.degree. C, 4 days at 21.degree. C, 3 days at 27.degree. C and 2 days at 32.degree. C. No net top growth occurred during the 3 following drainage in plants flooded for over 14 days at 16.degree. C, 10 days at 21.degree. C, 8 days at 27.degree. C, and 6 days at 32.degree. C. In most cases, the negative response to flooding occurred before Phytophthora megasperma Drechs. could have an influence, indicating a physiological and not a pathological basis for the injury.

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