Tropical Grasslands (2006) Volume 40, 102–110

Effects of defoliation frequency on the development and establishment of a vegetatively planted turfgrass Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipede grass)

G.Z. BAO1 AND M. HIRATA2

1College of Environment and Resources, Jilin University, China
2Division of Grassland Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki, Japan

Abstract

Effects of defoliation frequency on the development and establishment of centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides), planted as sprigs, were investigated for 90 days after transplantation in terms of tillering, stolon elongation and biomass production, in southern Kyushu, Japan (31°50´N, 131°24´E). Plants transplanted as a tuft of 3 tillers in late July were defoliated at intervals of 10 (D10), 20 (D20), 30 (D30) or 60 (D60) days to a height of 3 cm above ground level from early August to early October. Tiller number, stolon length and plant cover significantly responded to defoliation frequency from about 40 days after transplantation onward, showing a response pattern of D30 ≥ D60 ≥ D20 ≥ D10. Biomass of leaves (laminae), stolons (inclusive of non-rooted stems and leaf sheaths) and roots, and number of leaves and primary roots, at the final measurement showed similar response patterns. The results show that: (a) establishing centipede grass plants need to be defoliated less frequently than plants growing as an established sward; (b) the period of 30–40 days after transplantation is a most critical time for emergence of defoliation effects; (c) stolons are most sensitive to defoliation as a buffering organ; and (d) centipede grass has a high ability to develop tillers and stolons.

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