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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The perennial grass Oryzopsis holciformis (M.B.) Hack, is used on the Menashe hills (Israel) for reseeding natural pasture which consists chiefly of annual vegetation. It has been noticed, however, that stands of this species tend to decline over the years and the assumption that this is due to a combined effect of competition by annuals and application of fertilizers was tested in a field experiment.It was found that an addition of nitrogen caused the same proportionate increase in yield of Oryzopsis in a mixed stand as that of Oryzopsis in a pure stand. It also appeared that the response of Oryzopsis to N application in mixed sward was greater than that of the annual vegetation.“Self” competition (Oryzopsis vs. Oryzopsis) and “alien” competition (Oryzopsis vs. Avena sterilis L.) as well as the effect of differential sowing times were studied in a pot experiment and it was found that deferred sowing of the oat competitor caused an increase in the weight of its Oryzopsis partner, but this increase was markedly greater when the competitor was another Oryzopsis plant.Postponed sowing of both partners resulted in considerably smaller plants which, in addition, failed to flower by the time they reached the rest phase. Oat plants did not manifest this “short season” effect.Population counts carried out in the field plot at the beginning and at the end of the growth period indicated decreases in many of the subplots. These changes were not related to presence or absence of annual competitors and were probably the results of edaphic factors. Effective recolonization of the resulting empty spaces would depend on adequate germination and the attainment of maximum size by the end of the active season. If this is not achieved because of a belated start of winter rains—as often happens—quick growing annuals would fill in the gaps and cause gradual deterioration of the Oryzopsis stands.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 2: Ministry of Agriculture


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1. Harper J.L."Approaches to the study of plant competition"Symp. Soc. exp. Biol.1961Vol 15139
2. Harris G.A."Some competitive relationships between Agropyrum spicatum"Bromus tectorum, Ecol. Monogr.1967Vol 3789111
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14. Zohary M."Plant Life of PalestineIsrael and Jordan", The Ronald Press, Co.New York1962

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