Environment and seedling age influence mesquite response to epicotyl removal
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CitationTischler, C. R., Polley, H. W., Johnson, H. B., & Mayeux, H. S. (1998). Environment and seedling age influence mesquite response to epicotyl removal. Journal of Range Management, 51(3), 361-365.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractHerbivory by small mammals is a major factor controlling survival of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr. var. glandulosa) seedlings. Clipping below the cotyledons is lethal; removal of the epicotyl may not be lethal but can severely limit seedling growth. Seedlings of other woody species sometimes compensate for epicotyl removal by prolonging the life of cotyledons. Also, projected future increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration could influence survival and growth after epicotyl removal. Objectives of this study were to determine effects of epicotyl removal at various seedling ages, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and soil fertility, on (1) seedling survival, (2) cotyledonary leaf longevity, and (3) shoot and root growth of young seedlings. Mesquite seedlings were grown at 350, 700, and 1,000 microliters liter-1 atmospheric CO2 concentration in nutrient poor and nutrient rich soils. All ages of seedlings survived epicotyl removal. Cotyledonary leaf fresh mass and chlorophyll content were higher in plants where epicotyls were clipped. Root and shoot mass of both clipped and unclipped plants generally increased at higher CO2 concentrations when mineral nutrition was adequate, but responded less to CO2 when soil fertility was low. Responses to epicotyl clipping in mesquite seedlings are complex, being strongly influenced by soil fertility, atmospheric C)2 concentration, seedling age at clipping, and interactions between these factors.