Persistence of tropical forage grasses in shaded environments

Wong C.C. and Stur W.W. (1996) Persistence of tropical forage grasses in shaded environments. Journal of Agricultural Science, 126 2: 151-159.

Author Wong C.C.
Stur W.W.
Title Persistence of tropical forage grasses in shaded environments
Journal name Journal of Agricultural Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8596
Publication date 1996-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 126
Issue 2
Start page 151
End page 159
Total pages 9
Language eng
Subject 1103 Animal Science and Zoology
1102 Agronomy and Crop Science
1311 Genetics
Abstract The sowing of improved tropical forages in tree plantations can increase animal productivity considerably, but planted grasses often fail to persist under grazing, resulting in unstable pastures. An experiment was conducted in Brisbane, Australia during the summer of 1989/90 to investigate whether the failure of tropical grasses to persist in shade when regularly defoliated is related to their growth habit. Two shade-tolerant grasses of contrasting growth habit (prostrate Paspalum wettsteinii v. erect Paspalum malacophyllum) were grown in simulated swards at light levels of 100, 50 and 20% of full sunlight and defoliated every 2 or 4 weeks. Shading and frequent cutting reduced total dry matter yield equally in the two grasses. Shading also reduced tiller density. Paspalum wettsteinii persisted poorly under frequent (2-weekly) defoliation in shade. Plant survival rate of this grass was 66% in the 2-weekly defoliation-20% light transmission treatment, compared with 94% in P. malacophyllum. The poor survival of P. wettsteinii was related to its high allocation of total yield to roots, low tiller density and low total nonstructural carbohydrate yield in residual biomass after defoliation. The inability of P. wettsteinii to adjust in shade to frequent defoliation led to a continual decline in photosynthetic area and light interception, resulting in the depletion of energy reserves, increased susceptibility to Rhizocionia fungal infection and ultimately to death. It was concluded that growth habit per se cannot be used as a simple indicator for selecting tropical grasses for shaded environments. Instead, morphophysiological adaptation to defoliation in shade was critical for plant persistence.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import - Archived
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