Effect of management factors on tiller dynamics in tall fescue: tiller initiation

  • RL Phillips
  • NM Tainton
  • JDH Reusch
  • DEA Cumming
Keywords: botany, cajun, cedara agricultural development institute, cultivar, fertilization, fescue, <i>festuca arundinacea</i>, grasslands roa, management, nitrogen fertilization, plant density, production, sampling, seed production, seeding, south africa, tall fe


The effect of plant density (row spacing/seeding rate), nitrogen (N) fertilization, cultivar choice and close-down date on tiller initiation in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), managed for seed production, was examined over two years. In the first season, tiller studies were conducted on eight individual plants in each treatment. Quadrats (75mm x 75mm) formed the sampling units in the second season. Newly emerged tillers were marked monthly to provide information on tiller initiation. Tiller initiation was dependent on plant density and cultivar choice in both seasons. As plant density declined, tiller initiation increased (P < 0.01). The cultivar Cajun tillered more profusely than Roa (P < 0.01). In the second season N increased tiller initiation (P < 0.01), while more (P < 0.05) tillers were produced with a July close-down than with a September close-down. Peak tillering occurred during the cooler months, and was low during early autumn, spring and summer. Tiller initiation was also dependent on tiller age and hierarchial order.

Keywords: botany; cajun; cedara agricultural development institute; cultivar; fertilization; fescue; festuca arundinacea; grasslands roa; management; nitrogen fertilization; plant density; production; sampling; seed production; seeding; south africa; tall fescue; tiller density; tiller dynamics; tillering; treatment

African Journal of Range & Forage Science, Vol. 13(2),

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119