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Uptake and distribution of nitrogen in perennial ryegrass: effect of additional applications at vegetative growth

Gislum, R., Wollenweber, B., Boelt, B., Jensen, E.S.
Journal of plant nutrition 2003 v.26 no.12 pp. 2375-2389
Lolium perenne, forage production, grasses, harvesting, hydroponics, leaves, nitrogen, nitrogen content, shoots, spring, storage organs, vegetative growth
Nitrogen (N) fertilization rate, form, and timing in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) vary according to the purpose of the grass. Double or triple spring N applications are required in forage production of perennial ryegrass. Whereas in perennial ryegrass grown for seed production the effect of more than one application has not received much attention. The hypothesis is that in perennial ryegrass grown for seed production the utilization of applied N depends on the current N status. Perennial ryegrass was grown in a hydroponic system with two N rates: low-N (0.2 mM) and high-N (6.0 mM). After 47 days of growth, additional N was applied as double-labeled 15NO3(-) 15NH4(+) on four successive occasions in order to distinguish between the recoveries of the initial N applications and the additional N applied. Growth parameters and N content were analyzed on five harvesting occasions. Additional N applications to plants with low N status were primarily used to increase both N content in all organs as well as shoot number. By contrast, in high-N treatments, the additional N supplied was primarily used to increase total-N content in leaves. In all treatments, leaves were the preferable storage organs for N, however, the results from the high-N treatments suggest a shift to pseudo-stems as the preferable storage organ when additional N was supplied. It is suggested that the current N concentration in perennial ryegrass determines the potential of the plants to utilize additional applied N.