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Cutting Height and the Biomass and Tiller Density of Lolium perenne Amenity Turfs
W. M. Lush and M. E. Rogers
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 29, No. 3 (1992), pp. 611-618
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404469
Page Count: 8
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1. Amenity turfs of five accessions of Lolium perenne L. were established and subsequently maintained at nine mowing heights ranging from 9 to 66 mm. The turfs' development over 1.5 years was monitored by measuring turf biomass and tiller density in order to determine (i) whether such measurements provide useful information about turf behaviour, and (ii) whether turfs conform to patterns observed in other types of vegetation. 2. Measurements of turf height, biomass and tiller density were sensitive enough to quantify differences between management regimes and between genotypes. Biomass was directly related to turf height, whereas tiller density was inversely related to height. Accessions selected specifically for use in amenity turfs had higher biomasses and tiller densities at each mowing height than did pasture accessions. 3. The practical implications of these findings are that a height selected to maximize the resistance of a turf to the damage caused by wear will necessarily be associated with a coarse textured appearance, but that there is sufficient genetic variation within L. perenne for this inverse association between turf function and appearance to be circumvented, within limits, by plant selection. 4. The turfs had much in common with other crowded populations of plants. Biomass was inversely related to density, but the slope of equations fitted to the data did not conform strictly to the self-thinning rule. The slopes of biomass-density relationships may have been the same in all accessions, but the biomass-density relationship was not a species constant because of variation in the intercept. Turfs differed from other populations in that the shortest turfs had heavier tillers than expected from an interspecific trend line, and the biomass densities (biomass/volume) of the shortest turfs were high by comparison with other vegetation types. 5. It is concluded that the basic measurements and principles of population biology have an application in turf science.
Journal of Applied Ecology © 1992 British Ecological Society