Leaf development of native bluestem grasses in relation to degree-day accumulation.

Gillen, R.L.
Ewing, A.L.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
Degree-day accumulation is commonly used to predict crop development and harvest dates. Relationships between degree-day accumulation and phenological development of range forage grasses have received less attention. This research tested the hypotheses that leaf development by big bluestem [Andropogon gerardii Vitman] and little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash] is related to degree-day accumulation and that these relationships are stable over environments and years within environments. Study environments included native prairie, a space-planted garden, and a growth chamber. Individual tillers of big and little bluestem were permanently marked and fully developed leaves were counted once or twice weekly over 3 growing seasons and 1 growth chamber trial. Quadratic regression models accounted for 94 to 99% of the observed variation in leaf development for all species-environment-year combinations. Regression models were significantly different (p = 0.05) among environments and between years within environments. Lack of model stability over years was a result of high variation in total leaves produced per tiller relative to annual variation in degree-day accumulation. The simple independent variable, day of year, predicted leaf development equally as well as degree-day accumulation.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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