Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Competition among seedlings of perennial grasses, subterranean clover, white clover, and annual ryegrass in replacement series mixtures

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 51(3) 377 - 384
Published: 2000


Seedlings of 3 perennial grasses, Danthonia linkii Kunthcv. Bunderra, D. richardsonii Cashmore cv. Taranna(wallaby grasses), and Phalaris aquatica L. cv. Sirosa,were each grown in replacement series mixtures with seedlings ofTrifolium repens L. (white clover),Trifolium subterraneum L. var. brachycalycinum ( Morley) Zorahy & Heller cv. Clare (subterraneanclover), and Lolium rigidum L. (annual ryegrass). Plantswere sown 5 cm apart in boxes (45 by 29 by 20 cm) at a density of 307plants/m2. Maximum likelihood estimates were usedto derive parameters of a non-linear competition model using the dry matterweights of perennial grasses and competitors at 3 harvests, approximately 168,216, and 271 days after sowing. Intra-plant competition was examined inmonocultures of each species, grown at plant spacings of 2, 5, and 8 cm apartwith plants harvested at the above times.

Competition occurred in all perennial grass–competitor mixtures, exceptin those of each perennial grass with white clover and thephalaris–subterranean clover mixture (Harvest 1) and those withD. richardsonii and phalaris grown with white clover(Harvest 2). For D. richardsonii (Harvests 1 and 2) andD. linkii (Harvest 1 only) grown with white clover andthe phalaris–subterranean clover (Harvest 1), the two species in themixture were not competing. In the phalaris–white clover mixture, eachspecies was equally competitive (Harvests 1 and 2). These differences incompetition and aggressiveness reflected differences in individual plantweights in monocultures where there was an effect (P < 0.05) of species ondry matter weight per box, but no significant effect of plant spacing.

These data indicated that for successful establishment,D. richardsonii and D. linkiishould not be sown in swards with either subterranean clover or white clover,or where populations of annual ryegrass seedlings are likely to be high.Phalaris was more compatible with both white clover and subterranean clover,but aggressively competed with by annual ryegrass.

Keywords: establishment, Danthonia, phalaris, inter-plant competition, intra-plant competition.

© CSIRO 2000

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