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Effects of drought and competition by a Ryegrass sward on the seedling growth of a range of grassland species



Effects of drought and competition by a Ryegrass sward on the seedling growth of a range of grassland species



Journal of Agronomy & Crop Science 190(4): 277-286



In de-intensified grassland where an increased seedling recruitment is seen as a prerequisite to enhance plant species diversity, establishment success of introduced seeds of wildflower species is often poor. Outshading by the existing sward and dry weather spells when seedlings are at an early stage of development are major reasons for a low seedling establishment. The effects of drought and competition by an existing Lolium perenne sward on the growth of seedlings of seven wildflower species were investigated under standardized environmental conditions. Without competition (control), the relative growth rate of the wildflower seedlings varied between 103 (Tragopogon pratensis) and 184 mg g-1 day-1 (Leontodon autumnalis). Species differed in the extent of growth reduction by competition. Compared with the control, reduction of seedling dry weight ranged from 45% (Trifolium pratense) up to 88% (Daucus carota). The time range between onset of desiccation and first effects on growth varied between species, with T. pratense showing early and strong growth reduction in contrast to D. carota being least affected. It can be concluded, that those species which maintain a comparatively high growth rate supported by adapted shoot-root allocation are most promising for establishment in grassland as they can exploit profiles of higher resource availability.

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Accession: 012013855

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-037x.2004.00117.x


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