The University of Arizona

Herbage yield, protein content, and carbohydrate reserves in gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae).

A. Garza, T. McLendon, D.L. Drawe


Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae [Trin.] Merr.) is a highly productive bunchgrass that dominates thousands of hectares of marshlands along the Gulf coast. Herbage yield, protein content, and carbohydrate reserve patterns were studied for the species for 18 months on the Welder Wildlife Refuge on the central Texas coast. Plots were clipped at 1-month intervals at 10- and 20-cm stubble heights. Herbage yield and protein content were greater for plants clipped at 10-cm stubble height as compared with those clipped at 20 cm. Total nonstructural carbohydrate reserve levels in both stem bases and roots were also greater in plants clipped at the lower stubble height. Lowest carbohydrate reserve levels were recorded during periods of active growth. Results suggested that gulf cordgrass can withstand monthly removal of herbage to a height of 10 cm for a period of at least 18 months without adverse effects. The most sensitive periods for herbage removal, based on TNC and protein levels, were late summer and early fall.


total nonstructural carbohydrates;spartina spartinae;coasts;marshes;wetlands;forage crops;clipping;stubble;carbohydrates;protein content;Texas;range management;crop yield;plant height

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