The University of Arizona

Water balance in pure stand of Lehmann lovegrass.

G.W. Frasier, J.R. Cox

Abstract


Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees), an introduced warm season grass, has invaded grasslands in southern Arizona, in many areas replacing the native warm-season grasses. A water balance evaluation in a pure stand of Lehmann lovegrass showed that more soil water was used through evapotranspiration than occurred as precipitation during 2 years of a 3-year study period. During the winter season, an appreciable amount of water was used by Lehmann lovegrass or lost by evaporation from the soil surface. The remaining available soil water was used in the spring dry period. In the dry early spring the soil water contents (to depths of 120 cm) were less than the traditional wilting point tension of -1.5 MPa. The invasion of Lehmann lovegrass into grasslands of southern Arizona is partially related to its ability to utilize soil water during parts of the year when the native species are dormant and also to extract water from the soil profile to very low water contents.

Keywords


water binding capacity;water content;water balance;evapotranspiration;rain;biomass;Eragrostis lehmanniana;introduced species;Arizona;soil water

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