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Response Of Giant Reed (Arundo Donax L.) To Nitrogen Fertilization And Soil Water Availability In Semi-arid Mediterranean Environment.

S. Cosentino, D. Scordia, E. Sanzone, G. Testa, V. Copani
Published 2014 · Biology

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Abstract The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effect of soil water availability and nitrogen fertilization on yield, water use efficiency and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency of giant reed ( Arundo donax L.) over four-year field experiment. After the year of establishment, three levels for each factor were studied in the following three years: I 0 (irrigation only during the year of establishment), I 1 (50% ETm restitution) and I 2 (100% ETm restitution); N 0 (0 kg N ha −1 ), N 1 (60 kg N ha −1 ) and N 2 (120 kg N ha −1 ). Irrigation and nitrogen effects resulted significant for stem height and leaf area index (LAI) before senescence, while no differences were observed for stem density and LAI at harvest. Aboveground biomass dry matter (DM) yield increased following the year of establishment in all irrigation and N fertilization treatments. It was always the highest in I 2 N 2 (18.3, 28.8 and 28.9 t DM ha −1 at second, third and fourth year growing season, respectively). The lowest values were observed in I 0 N 0 (11.0, 13.4 and 12.9 t DM ha −1 , respectively). Water use efficiency (WUE) was significantly higher in the most stressed irrigation treatment (I 0 ), decreasing in the intermediate (I 1 ) and further in the highest irrigation treatment (I 2 ). N fertilization lead to greater values of WUE in all irrigation treatment. The effect of N fertilization on agronomic nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) was significant only at the first and second growing season. Giant reed was able to uptake water at 160–180 cm soil depth when irrigation was applied, while up to 140–160 cm under water stress condition. Giant reed appeared to be particularly suited to semi-arid Mediterranean environments, showing high yields even in absence of agro-input supply.
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