Experimental measurement of the growth costs and benefits of clonal integration of Zoysia japonica in habitats with various N/P ratios

Published online: 
8 March 2018

Syed Wajahat Husain Jaafry, Dezhi Li, Huijuan Chen, Xiaoling Niu, Bo Li

A small number of previous studies investigating the potential advantages of clonal integration, have focused on the measurement of the costs and benefits of clonal integration at various N/P ratios. Clonal plants adaptively respond to abiotic stress but to date little is known about at what level clonal integration is beneficial or costly at various conditions. To study the costs and benefits of clonal integration on the clonal growth of Zoysia japonica, the studied species was grown under three ratios of N:P (N:P≈7, 14:1 and 21:1), and four types of stolon severing treatments (connected stolon CS, light severing LS, moderate severing MS, serious severing SS) were implemented. The results showed that Z. japonica performed best at a low ratio of N:P (N:P≈7:1). Under the stolons connected CS, the growth of primary A-ramets, multiple-nodes and stolons benefited by clonal integration; however, the growth of primary B-ramets on the primary stolons, A and B ramet significantly declined (p < 0.05). Under moderate stolon severing treatment MS7:1 (N:P≈7), the clonal integration showed most cost effective compared to all other treatments. On the whole, with increasing stolon severing intensity, the cost of clonal integration increased and the clonal growth of Z. japonica declined significantly. The pattern of biomass allocation may be useful for Z. japonica to adapt to the various environments, and clonal integration plays a significant role under adverse environmental conditions.

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