The effects of planting technique on the growth of Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link and Lymus arenarius (L.) Hochst

  • Published source details Hobbs R.J., Gimingham C.H. & Band W.T. (1983) The effects of planting technique on the growth of Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link and Lymus arenarius (L.) Hochst. Journal of Applied Ecology, 20, 659-672.


Planting of vegetative parts of dune grasses such as marram Ammophila arenaria and lyme-grass Lymus arenarius, has been practiced for many years for sand stabilization and dune formation. In this study, a series of experiments were conducted to test the effects of different planting factors on the growth of rhizomes of these two coastal sand dune grasses. The experiment reported here describes results of a glass house study looking at the effect of rhizome planting orientation and depth on the growth of lyme-grass transplants.

Lyme-grass collection: On 8 May 1981, plants were collected from the mouth of the River Don at Aberdeen (nationa Grid ref. NJ 953093), north-east Scotland. Material was as uniform as possible, comprising a rhizome segment of 10 cm length with a healthy above-ground tiller system.

Experimental design and planting: A 2 x 3 factorial experiment was established, with two rhizome orientations (horizontal or vertical) and two planting depths (10 cm; 20 cm) with the apical growing point at the sand surface. The rhizomes were planted in black polythene pots filled with locally, washed beach sand. The pots were 23 cm in diameter and depth. For 20 cm depth plantings, pots were extended using a black polythene collar giving an effective depth of about 35 cm. Each pot contained two transplants, with 10 plants per treatment. Pots were placed in an unheated greenhouse under ambient light conditions at Aberdeen University Botany Department. These were watered with 50 ml of water immediately after planting, followed by 50 ml of nutrient solution the next day. Subsequently each received 30 ml water twice a week, and 30 ml nutrient solution once a week.

Analysis of plant material: The plants were excavated after 9 weeks. Each plant was washed and dead leaf sheath material was removed so that rhizome and bud development could be followed.

Orientation of planting produced no significant differences in any of the measured characteristics. The length of vertical rhizomes increased markedly at the greater planting depth in both horizontal and vertical rhizome plantings. Numbers and lengths of horizontal rhizomes and numbers of new leaves showed a clear decline with planting depth in both treatments. Shoot numbers remained constant with increasing depth in the vertical treatments, but declined significantly in the horizontal treatments.

Conclusions: The growth of rhizomes was unaffected by orientation of planting of the original rhizome segment, but growth was severely reduced at the greater (20 cm deep) planting depth.

Note: The compilation and addition of this summary was funded by the Journal of Applied Ecology (BES). If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, this can be viewed at:



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