Responses of reed canarygrass to root zone flooding and drought

Kenedy Etone Epie

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is well established as an energy grass in Finland. Both flooding and drought are major stresses to which this crop may be exposed during its growing cycle. The present study assessed the growth along with the physiological and biochemical responses of reed canary grass to four different soil moisture conditions in a pot experiment with four replicates. Turf samples were taken from field-grown reed canarygrass plots in early spring of 2008 and put into 7-litre plastic pots filled with silt-loam soil and fitted with plastic tubes to control the water table. The pots were maintained at field capacity for three weeks after establishment and then the treatments were imposed for the next 30 days. Moisture levels were maintained 3 cm above the soil surface (flooded), 15 cm below the soil surface (wet), or fully drained (moist), or the soil was allowed to dry gradually (drought). Leaf number, plant height and plant dry matter production were greatest in the flooded treatment and lowest in the drought treatment, although the difference in dry matter production just failed to achieve significance at P ≤ 0.05. Net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration were highly correlated with each other and were significantly reduced in the drought treatment. Ethylene production rate was high in the wet and flooded treatments and alcohol dehydrogenase activity was high in the roots of the flooded plants. Aerenchyma was found in roots of all treatments. The results confirmed the adaptation of reed canarygrass to wetland conditions and suggest that it is suitable for growing in conditions such as on acid sulphate soils that are managed with a high water table to prevent oxidation and acidification. The results also indicate that reed canarygrass has some tolerance to drought, which may be increasingly important as global climate change makes rainfall patterns more irregular.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Fields of Science

  • 411 Agriculture and forestry
  • Reed canarygrass, bioenergy, biomass, flooding, drought.

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