Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biomass yield, nitrogen response, and nutrient uptake of perennial bioenergy grasses in North Carolina.

Abstract

Although perennial grasses show considerable potential as candidates for lignocellulosic bioenergy production, these crops exhibit considerable variation in regional adaptability and yield. Giant miscanthus (Miscanthus Ă— giganteus Greef & Deuter), Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. 'Gracillimus' and MH2006, plume grass (Saccharum arundinaceum Retz.), ravenna grass (Saccharum ravennae (L.) L.), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. 'Alamo'), and giant reed (Arundo donax L.) field plots were established in 2008, treated with four nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates (0, 34, 67, 134 kg ha-1 y-1), and harvested annually in winter from 2008 to 2011. Giant reed, 'Gracillimus', switchgrass, MH2006, giant miscanthus and ravenna grass at the Mountain site produced mean dry matter yields of 22.8, 21.3, 20.9, 19.3, 18.4, and 10.0 Mg ha-1 y-1, respectively (averaged over the last two years). Dry matter yields at the Coastal site for giant reed, giant miscanthus, switchgrass, ravenna grass, and 'Gracillimus' were 27.4, 20.8, 20.1, 14.3, and 9.4 Mg ha-1 y-1, respectively (averaged over the last two years). Increasing N rates up to 134 kg N ha-1 did not have a consistent significant effect on biomass production. High yields coupled with high mortality for plume grass at both sites indicates its potential as a bioenergy crop and need for continued improvement. Overall, the perennial grasses in this study had low nutrient removal, although giant reed and plume grass often removed significantly more N, P, K and S compared with Miscanthus spp. and switchgrass. Our results indicate that giant reed, giant miscanthus, and switchgrass are productive bioenergy crops across geographic regions of North Carolina.