Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 18, 2003
Publication Date: August 27, 2004
Citation: Zobel, R.W., Skinner, R.H., Skaradek, W. 2004. Aerenchyma development in native warm-season grass cultivars for esstablishing buffers along grazing land riparian corridors. Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands [CD-ROM]. Technical Abstract: The primary objective of this study was to determine the suitability of selected warm-season grass species/cultivars for use in riparian buffers where flooding can be expected. This study focused on the development of aerenchyma in the roots of plants placed under flooding compared with non-flooding conditions. One-year old plants from twenty six cultivars representing six native warm-season species (big bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, Vitman., 8 cultivars; little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium Michx., 1 cultivar; switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L., 9 cultivars; indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans L., 5 cultivars; prairie cordgrass, Spartina pectinata L.,1 cultivar; and eastern gamagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides L., 2 cultivars) were transplanted into 15-cm diameter by 120-cm deep PVC pots and grown under well-drained or waterlogged conditions. After approximately 100 d, pots were opened and root samples collected for root length distribution and aerenchyma formation determinations. Aspects of aerenchyma development included percent of root cross sectional area as aerenchyma and whether the aerenchyma development was schizogenic (typical of constitutive aerenchyma) or lysigenic (characteristic of facultative aerenchyma which usually develop after stress initiation). Cultivars with limited aerenchyma development always had poor root growth into saturated soils. Conversely, cultivars with extensive aerenchyma development usually, but not always, had better than average root growth under anaerobic conditions. Suitable plant materials for inclusion in riparian buffers were found among five of the six warm-season species examined, although some species, such as eastern gramagrass, appeared to be more likely than others, such as big bluestem, to provide cultivars that were tolerant of anaerobic soils.