Carbohydrate Reserve, Phenology, and Growth Cycles of Nine Colorado Range Species
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CitationMenke, J. W., & Trlica, M. J. (1981). Carbohydrate reserve, phenology, and growth cycles of nine Colorado range species. Journal of Range Management, 34(4), 269-277.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractNine Colorado range species were studied for two consecutive years to relate the carbohydrate reserve status with phenological stage of development and current annual growth, including leaf, twig, or seedstalk length, or plant height. The species were four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), little rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus vicidiflorus), fringed sagewort (Artemisia frigida), scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), James' cryptantha (Cryptantha jamesii), and pricklypear cactus (Opuntia polyacantha and rhodantha in a mixed stand). Seasonal total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) reserve cycles were related to phenological stages of development. Growth of all species appeared to be stimulated by late-summer or fall precipitation. Growth was found to be related inversely to carbohydrate reserve storage. Fourwing saltbush and antelope bitterbrush had typical V-shaped annual carbohydrate reserve cycles, and little rabbitbrush had a somewhat flat or extended V-shaped cycle. Fringed sagewort, scarlet globemallow, and western wheatgrass had flat or extended V-shaped cycles and maintained low reserves for more of the growing season than any of the species with typical reserve cycles. Blue grama was the only species that exhibited a narrow V-shaped cycle. The shape of the seasonal TNC cycle appeared to be a good screening tool for assessing the relative effects of defoliation on different plant species. Plants that replenished reserves rapidly after spring draw-down and regrowth periods, and minimized the part of the growing season with low reserve status, were least affected by defoliation and recovered rapidly from severe defoliation.