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Total Nonstructural Carbohydrates and Regrowth in Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) Following Hand Defoliation or Clopyralid Treatment

  • Harry T. Cralle (a1) and Rodney W. Bovey (a2)

Abstract

Greenhouse experiments were conducted to assess the storage of nonstructural carbohydrates in the stems and roots of honey mesquite and their mobilization and utilization following defoliation by hand or clopyralid. All leaves were removed by hand from one group of plants while leaving stems intact. Another group received a foliar spray of clopyralid at a sublethal acid equivalent rate of 0.07 kg ha−1. Samplings at treatment on day 0 and at 14, 28, 42, and 58 d after treatment measured leaf area; dry weight of leaves, stems, and roots; and grams and percent total nonstructural carbohydrates in stems and roots. Controls accumulated dry weight and grams total nonstructural carbohydrates in stems and roots, while maintaining a constant percent total nonstructural carbohydrates throughout the experiment. Percent and grams total nonstructural carbohydrates in stems and roots of hand defoliated plants decreased by about one-half from day 0 to 14 as new leaf growth occurred, but increased and returned to pretreatment levels on day 28. A similiar, though slower, pattern of decline and recovery of total nonstructural carbohydrates in stems and roots occurred in response to defoliation by clopyralid. These results showed that the nonstructural carbohydrates in stems and roots of honey mesquite were important sources of carbohydrates to support new leaf regrowth following defoliation by hand or herbicide.

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