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Keywords:

  • Emergence;
  • Establishment;
  • Geranium dissectum;
  • Reproduction;
  • Seed;
  • Sheep;
  • Survival
  • Clapham;
  • Tutin & Moore (1987)

Abstract. The effects of grazing upon the establishment, survival, growth and reproduction of a grassland annual Geranium dissectum growing in a sward dominated by grasses were examined in a replicated grazing experiment with sheep. Seeds were sown in both summer and autumn, and grazing was controlled to produce two levels of grazing in winter, two levels in spring, and two in summer, combined in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experimental design. Higher intensities of grazing in the period immediately before emergence benefitted plant establishment, but subsequent survival showed many interactions between factors, demonstrating that under certain conditions and at certain times grazing was detrimental. It is suggested that the frequency of G. dissectum in the grassland was low because the heavy grazing conditions that foster seedling emergence also jeopardize subsequent survival. This may also be why productive grassland communities in general contain few palatable dicots.