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Open AccessArticle

Salt Tolerance of Six Switchgrass Cultivars

Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, 4820 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso, Texas A&M University System, 1380 A&M Circle, El Paso, TX 79927, USA
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74074, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2018, 8(5), 66;
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 29 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response and Tolerance of Agricultural Crops to Salinity Stress)
Panicum virgatum L. (switchgrass) cultivars (‘Alamo’, ‘Cimarron’, ‘Kanlow’, ‘NL 94C2-3’, ‘NSL 2009-1’, and ‘NSL 2009-2’) were evaluated for salt tolerance in two separate greenhouse experiments. In experiment (Expt.) 1, switchgrass seedlings were irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dS·m−1 (control) or a saline solution (spiked with salts) at an EC of 5.0 dS·m−1 (EC 5) or 10.0 dS·m−1 (EC 10) for four weeks, once a week. Treatment EC 10 reduced the tiller number by 32% to 37% for all switchgrass cultivars except ‘Kanlow’. All switchgrass cultivars under EC 10 had a significant reduction of 50% to 63% in dry weight. In Expt. 2, switchgrass was seeded in substrates moistened with either a nutrient solution of EC 1.2 dS·m−1 (control) or a saline solution of EC of 5.0, 10.0, or 20.0 dS·m−1 (EC 5, EC 10, or EC 20). Treatment EC 5 did not affect the seedling emergence, regardless of cultivar. Compared to the control, EC 10 reduced the seedling emergence of switchgrass ‘Alamo’, ‘Cimarron’, and ‘NL 94C2-3’ by 44%, 33%, and 82%, respectively. All switchgrass cultivars under EC 10 had a 46% to 88% reduction in the seedling emergence index except ‘NSL 2009-2’. No switchgrass seedlings emerged under EC 20. In summary, high salinity negatively affected switchgrass seedling emergence and growth. Dendrogram and cluster of six switchgrass cultivars indicated that ‘Alamo’ was the most tolerant cultivar, while ‘NSL 2009-2’ was the least tolerant cultivar at both seedling emergence and growth stages. A growth-stage dependent response to salinity was observed for the remaining switchgrass cultivars. ‘NSL 2009-1’ and ‘NL 94C2-3’ were more tolerant to salinity than ‘Cimarron’ and ‘Kanlow’ at the seedling emergence stage; however, ‘Kanlow’ and ‘Cimarron’ were more tolerant to salinity than ‘NSL 2009-1’ and ‘NL 94C2-3’ at the seedling growth stage. View Full-Text
Keywords: Panicum virgatum; salinity; mineral nutrition; cluster analysis Panicum virgatum; salinity; mineral nutrition; cluster analysis
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Sun, Y.; Niu, G.; Ganjegunte, G.; Wu, Y. Salt Tolerance of Six Switchgrass Cultivars. Agriculture 2018, 8, 66.

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