Main content area

Winter hardiness in Lolium multiflorum Lam. II. The effect of defoliation and nitrogen application as assessed by low temperature response in a controlled environment

Grass and forage science 1978 v.33 no.3 pp. 175-179
Lolium multiflorum, ambient temperature, defoliation, field experimentation, growth chambers, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, stress tolerance, winter hardiness
The effect of defoliation and nitrogen application on the cold tolerance of four varieties of Italian ryegrass was assessed using controlled environment chambers. Both defoliation and nitrogen fertilizer markedly reduced overall cold tolerance and this closely matched changes in winter hardiness induced by similar treatments applied to the same varieties in a field experiment. However, the relative response of individual varieties differed from that found under field conditions. Thus, RvP showed high levels of tolerance to low temperatures in the controlled environments and was also winter‐hardy under field tests; by contrast Bb 1430, although previously shown to be winter hardy in the field, exhibited low tolerance of cold stress in growth chambers. Thus, results obtained in controlled environment tests cannot be entirely equated to winter hardiness in the field. Water‐soluble carbohydrate (WSC) levels were reduced by both defoliation and nitrogen application and there were significant overall differences between varieties. It was not possible, however, to detect any clear relationship between these differences in WSC levels and cold tolerance. The significance of these results in relation to the use of controlled environment chambers for selecting for improved winter hardiness is discussed.