The effects of clipping and fertilization on nitrogen nutrition and allocation by mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal Panicum coloratum L., a C4 grass
Mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal plants of Panicum coloratum L. were grown in a factorial treatment design under two nitrogen levels and two clipping heights with an unclipped control. The nitrogen concentration in different plant components was determined following 9 weeks of growth under experimental conditions. Mycorrhizal infection increased green leaf and sheath nitrogen concentration by a relatively small, but significant percentage and had no effect on nitrogen allocation to the various plant components. Clipping increased leaf nitrogen concentration but inhibited growth to the extent that, when compared with the unclipped controls, less nitrogen remained in residual plant biomass with up to half of the total nitrogen allocated to offtake (the material removed by clipping). Plants receiving the higher nitrogen fertilization had higher tissue concentration of N and more N allocated to above-ground living tissues. Mycorrhizal infection interacted with clipping height and also with N availability significantly. Infection was unable to ameliorate the negative effects of the most severe clipping regime and of the low nitrogen availability on leaf and sheath N content. This is possibly due to mycorrhizal demand for carbohydrates competing with the carbohydrate requirement of roots for nitrogen uptake.
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