• Dependence of 3 Nebraska Sandhills warm-season grasses on vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae

      Brejda, J. J.; Yocom, D. H.; Moser, L. E.; Waller, S. S. (Society for Range Management, 1993-01-01)
      Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) are rare or absent in actively eroding soils of the Sandhills. The objective of this study was to determine if 3 major Sandhills warm-season grasses used in reseeding eroded Sandhills sites are highly mycorrhizal dependent, and evaluate the response of VAM at different phosphorus (P) levels. In 2 greenhouse experiments, sand bluestem [Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilus (Nash) Fern.], switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and prairie sandreed [Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook) Scribn.] were grown in steam-sterilized sand in pots and inoculated with either indigenous Sandhills VAM, Glomus deserticola, or noninoculated. In the second experiment, VAM inoculated and control plants were treated with 5 P levels ranging from 5.4 to 27.0 mg P pot-1. Increasing levels of P fertilizer caused an initial increase, then dramatic decrease, in percentage colonization by Glomus deserticola but bad no effect on percentage colonization by indigenous Sandhills VAM. Mycorrhizal inoculated plants had a greater number of tillers, greater shoot weight, root weight, tissue P concentration and percentage P recovered, and a lower root/shoot ratio and P efficiency than noninoculated plants. Noninoculated sand bluestem had significantly lower shoot P concentration but greater P efficiency over all P levels thin any other grass-VAM treatment combination. Phosphorus fertilizer and VAM effects were often complementary at P levels up to 16.2 to 21.6 mg P pot-1, with no change or a decrease in plant responses at higher P levels. These 3 major Sandhills warm-season grasses were highly mycorrhizal dependent. Successful reestablishment of these on eroded sites in the Sandhills may be greatly improved if soil reinoculation with VAM occurred prior to revegetation.