The response of Acacia karroo plants to defoliation of the upper or lower canopy.
AbstractThe response of Acacia karroo trees to defoliation of either the upper or lower canopy only, was compared experimentally with that of plants whose whole canopies had been defoliated at a range of defoliation levels. These plants were very sensitive to defoliation of the upper canopy. A 100% defoliation of the upper canopy only, resulted in the same amount of growth as 100% defoliation of the whole canopy. This was considerably less than the growth of plants defoliated overall, at 25% and 50% leaf removal. In contrast, defoliation the bottom half of the canopy only, stimulated growth in the whole canopy to the same degree as defoliation of the whole canopy at 25-50%. The increases of growth were due largely to increased growth in the top half of the canopy. Plants were very sensitive to defoliation in the early-flush phenophase. This probably masked the positive effects of the partial defoliations applied at this phenophase.
Keywords: acacia karroo; browse production; defoliation; eastern cape; goats; growth stimulation; leaves; south africa; university of fort hare