The effects of temperature and irrigation on the establishment and growth of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) on Manawatu sand country : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in Plant Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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This research was undertaken to study the establishment of lucerne on one of the drier soils of the Manawatu sand country. Lucerne has often been difficult to establish on these soils, yet once established grows well, possibly due to the large supply of water that is to be found in the water table a metre or so below the surface. Difficulty in establishing lucerne has often been attributed to shifting of the unconsolidated cultivated sand surface by wind, and also to the low moisture holding capacity of the soil. Lucerne stands are usually sown in the spring, but the available soil moisture may be quickly evaporated by the strong prevailing westerly wind at this time and wind erosion may occur, often burying plants with sand and leaving other young plants with their root systems exposed. Another possible reason for poor establishment of lucerne could be the high surface temperatures often experienced on the bare surface. The aim of the field study was to examine the effects of soil temperature, soil moisture and wind erosion on lucerne establishment. Subsequently, glasshouse experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of temperature variations in the soil and on the surface on the growth and survival of lucerne seedlings. [From Introduction]
Alfalfa, Irrigation, Effect of temperature on plants