Selecting Atriplex canescens for greater tolerance to competition
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CitationUeckert, D. N., & Petersen, J. L. (1991). Selecting Atriplex canescens for greater tolerance to competition. Journal of Range Management, 44(3), 220-227.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractSuccess in establishing fourwing saltbush [Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.] is often limited by competition from associated vegetation. Fourwing saltbush is reported to have abundant natural genetic variation, hence selection for plant vigor or competitiveness may be an effective tool for cultivar improvement. We observed distinctive within-accession variation in the apparent ability of fourwing saltbush seedlings to tolerate competition from sideoats grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.] in a 1982 field planting. Superior and inferior parental saltbush phenotypes in the field planting were cloned in 1984 by rooting stem cuttings, and the cloned propagules were transplanted into plots with or without competition to test the hypothesis that the competitiveness trait was genetically controlled. Survival and canopy development of superior and inferior clones planted at the same time in competition regimens were similar, suggesting that the parental phenotypes were not genetically different in their ability to tolerate competition. Differences observed in the parental phenotypes may have been environmentally induced, or genetic differences in the clonal material may have been masked by using rooted cuttings rather than seedlings, by excessive competitive pressure in the competition regimens utilized, or both. Clones from the 2 parental phenotypes performed similarly when transplanted into competition-free regimens in November when growing conditions were favorable, but canopy development of clones from superior parental phenotypes exceeded that of those from inferior parental phenotypes when transplanted into competition-free regimens in April when growing conditions were poor.