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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208134

Title: Humidity critical for grass growth in warming climates

item Fiscus, Edwin
item Durham, Michael

Submitted to: Planta
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2007
Publication Date: 10/23/2007
Citation: Sinclair, T.R., Fiscus, E.L., Rufty, T., Wherley, B., Durham, M.W. 2007. Humidity critical for grass growth in warming climates. Planta. 227:273-276.

Interpretive Summary: Past predictions and experiments have indicated that increasing global temperatures will have deleterious effects on cool season species. However, in this experiment we have shown that as long as the humidity is maintained at relatively high values, growth of cool season grass "tall fescue" is actually enhanced at temperatures previously thought to be harmful.

Technical Abstract: Plant growth responses to climate change might be confounded by multi-factor changes such as temperature and vapor pressure deficit (VPD). The growth and water loss of tall fescue (Festuca arundinaccea Schreb.), a cool season grass, was measured over 6 weeks with independent control of temperature and VPD. In contrast to and anticipated decline in growth with temperature increase, growth actually increased. Increased VPD proved to be the key factor causing decreased growth. Understanding both temperature and VPD changes in future climates may be critical for predicting the response of many plant species.