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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Effect of acid soils on the growth and development of Eastern Gamagrass
Year: 2002
Author(s): Smith, R. J., Rhoden, E. G.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 309
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Eastern gamagrass, a perennial warm season grass, has been reported to tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, including flooding, drought, and acidity, but its reaction to different soil types has not been thoroughly investigated. Eastern gamagrass (Pete) with high forage potential, was tested to ascertain its performance in several acid soil types from the eastern and central United States under greenhouse conditions. The soil types studied were divided into two groups-those above and those below pH 5.5. An Orangeburg loamy sand (fine, loamy, thermic, Typic Kandidult) pH 5.7 gave the tallest plants (88.26 cm). In contrasts, the shortest plants were those growing in Matawan-Hammonton loam (fine-loamy, siliceous mesic, aquic Hapludult) with a pH of 4.6 (74.61 cm). The most profuse tillering occurred in Lucy loamy sand (fine, loamy, thermic, Arenic Kandidult) having a pH of 6.1 with 46 tillers per plant at time of harvest. Plant dry weight ranged from 2.04 g/plant (pH 5.4) to 3.43 g/plant (pH 5.6) for Meth (fine, mixed, thermic, Ultic Hapludalf). Overall, plants averaged 83.1 cm in height, 41.99 tillers/plant and 2.61 g/plant. Eastern gamagrass plants grown in different acid soils performed similarly when pH increased and decreased. There was 3% and 4% increase in tillering and plant height, respectively, between plants grown in pH above 5.5 over those below 5.5. Soils with pH greater than 5.5 produced plants that averaged 84.09 cm in height while those soils having pH less than 5.5 averaged 80.77 cm. Plants grown in soils with pH greater than 5.5 averaged 42.59 tillers/plant while those grown in soils less than pH 5.5 averaged 41.41 tillers. Therefore, Pete eastern gamagrass performed favorably across the soils types and pH studied. These results indicate that a comprehensive study of eastern gamagrass populations could identify cultivars that are adaptable to specific soil types and conditions.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall