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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Does weeping lovegrass maintain its crude protein content at the expense of its neighbors?

Author
item Springer, Timothy

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2007
Publication Date: June 24, 2007
Citation: Springer, T.L. 2007. Does weeping lovegrass maintain its crude protein content at the expense of its neighbors?. In: Proceedings American Forage and Grassland Conference, June 24-26, 2007, State College, PA. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Weeping lovegrass was introduced into the USA from Africa in 1927. Studies have found that it is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions, but is well adapted to low fertility, drought prone, sandy soils where it is used for grazing and conservation plantings. In sandy soils, the root system can be quite large, 10 to 15’ deep and 3 to 5’ in diameter. Other scientists have found that forage crude protein content ranges from 7.4 to 8.6% and declines rapidly with age. The objective of this research was to examine the crude protein data of each component of binary mixtures of grasses and legumes and determine if weeping lovegrass maintains its crude protein content at the expense of its neighbor. Findings suggest that weeping lovegrass does maintain a crude protein content at a steady state and that neighboring species have reduced crude protein content as compared to what would be found in their pure stands. The ability of weeping lovegrass to maintain its crude protein level is likely due to its competitive ability. With a large root system it can intercept nutrients around the root systems of its neighbors. Similarly, weeping lovegrass tended to shade neighboring species, limiting their growth. Shade and frequent defoliation of legumes is known to affect the rates of formation and decomposition of roots and nodules.

Technical Abstract: Data would suggest that weeping lovegrass [Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees] does maintain its crude protein (CP) content at a steady state at the expense of its surrounding neighbors. While studying the combining ability effects of binary mixtures of cool- and warm-season grasses and legumes it was found that the CP content of weeping lovegrass in mixtures was not different (P > 0.05) from that of pure stands. But when in mixtures, the CP content of its cohort was different (P < 0.05) from that of its pure stand. Weeping lovegrass is known to produce an extensive root system in sandy soil which would give it a significant competitive advantage for nutrient resources.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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