Site Factors On The Survival And Growth Biology Essay

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The study sought to determine the effect of site factors on the survival and growth rate of the tiger grass. To do it, 108 suckers of tiger grass were planted in all of the 3 sites. In each site, 3 blocks were laid out with 6 suckers of tiger planted in each block with a distance of 1.5 m. between the suckers. The growth and survival of tiger grass were observed for a period of 10 months. Moreover, soil samples were collected in the study area and analyzed at the Bureau of Soils at the start and at the end of the study. Temperature and relative humidity in the study area were also recorded at least once a day for a period of 10 months.

Results showed that the tiger grass planted in 3 sites did survive and grow. However, it was observed that within the study period, no panicle was developed or produced. In terms of growth performance, there were no significant differences in all of the 3 sites where the tiger grass suckers were planted. Thus, site factors were not contributory to the survival and growth of the Tiger grass. Similarly, soil conditions were almost similar in all of the 3 study sites.

Finally, the study of tiger grass should be done in a longer period of time; if possible, it should be 24 months or even longer so that the production of panicle which is the source for the production of brooms can readily be observed.

Introduction

Tiger grass is native in tropical Asia. It is widely distributed in Luzon and in almost all parts of Mindanao. The plant thrives best in higher elevation and the life span could reach up to ten years if proper management practices are employed (Technology Transfer Series, 1994).

In the Philippines, there are two important species of tiger grass, namely, the Thysanoleana maxima locally known as tambo, and the Phragmatis vulgaris. Both species belong to the family Graminae. Tambo grows abundantly in upland areas, along ravines, slopes and logged over forest where temperature is relatively cool while phragmatis vulgaris thrives in the lowlands especially in the shallow swamps and muddy streams. In terms of durability and quality of produce, tambo is better than the latter. Because of that, Santiago and Abrigo (1980) recommended for the continuous use of tiger grass in the northwestern part of Camarines Sur for the production of brooms by local folks to augment their income. Likewise, the potential of tiger grass as soil erosion control is mentioned especially for steep slopes and the planting of tiger grass together with agricultural crops.

Tiger grass is considered as one of the promising non-timber forest products for the following reasons. One, it plays a vital role in soil erosion control as potential hedge row material considering its numerous fibrous roots. Two, it can help in the restoration of vegetation in denuded areas of our forest. Lastly, it can provide additional income to upland farmers in the production of brooms. Thus, the study for the growth and survival of tiger grass at the experimental forest area can be an avenue for the mass production of tiger grass and for additional income for the upland farmers.

Economically, tiger grass farming is a profitable and viable livelihood for the upland farmers. It requires a minimal investment which the farmers can readily afford. Care and maintenance is not so laborious. After one year of planting tiger grass starts yielding its products from the panicle production. Like in Benguet province, a one-year-old clump yields an average of 23 panicles when planted at spacing of 2 m x 2 m. The yield increases with the age of plantation, the peak of which occurs in the 6th year (Ramilo, 1991).

In Zamboanga City, it has been observed that tiger grass is also present in some areas specifically at the Experimental Forest Area of the Western Mindanao State University. But until today no research study has been made as to its survival and growth rate. Hence, the study is necessary. The general aim of the study was to look into the effect of site factors on the survival and growth rate of tiger grass. Specifically, it sought to compare the survival and growth rates of the tiger grass at different locations, to determine the best condition/location for the maximum growth of the tiger grass, and to ascertain the influence of site factors on the survival and growth rate of tiger grass.

Method

In this study tiger grass suckers locally called “tambo” were selected from among those growing in the experimental forest area. Matured clumps of tiger grass were selected to be used for planting. Tiger grasses which were growing vigorously and luxuriantly in the area were given the preference. In lifting the desired planting stock, utmost care was taken to minimize injuries to the root system. The stalk of the grass was cut to a length of 10-12 inches from the root collar.

The suckers of tiger grass were planted in three (3) different sites. In each site three (3) blocks were laid out to accommodate six (6) suckers of tiger grass with a spacing of 1.5 m x 1.5. The treatments for this study were consisted of cardinal direction, the eastern direction & western direction. There were three blocks: the base of the mountain, the middle portion of the mountain and the top ridge of the mountain. The stalking was done for a spacing of 1.5 m x 1.5 m. Digging of hole was also done enough for the sucker of the tiger grass. Brushing of the experimental sites was undertaken prior to planting.

The gathering of data for the percentage survival and height growth in all of the experimental blocks were recorded during the duration of the study. Similarly, data regarding temperature and soil properties were also gathered. Soil samples were collected at the start and at the end of the study to compare if there would be differences in the properties of the soil. Ring weeding was conducted to the planted sucker of the tiger grass at least once a month to minimize competition from other grasses.

Results

The result of the soil analysis showed that the soil pH during the start of the study ranged between 5.2 to 5.6 or an average of 5.47 which was considered slightly acidic. Organic matter contents had values from .10 to 2.2 or an average of 1.08; whereas, nitrogen and potassium values were .05 to .11 and 50 (ppm) to 135 (ppm), respectively. Thus, there was only a trace of phosphorus content (See Table 1).

As shown in Table 1, at the end of the study, there was a decrease in the soil pH from an average of 5.47 to 4.70 which only indicated that the soil was more acidic compared to the one taken during the start of the study. Organic matter, likewise, also showed a decrease from 1.08 to .274. In terms of nitrogen content, there were also some changes from .06 to .076 while potassium content changed from 90 (ppm) to 380.33 (ppm). Thus, it also indicated that there was an increase in the value of potassium. However, for phosphorus it showed that only traces were found in the study site both at the start and at the end of the study. The result of the soil analysis also showed that the soil type in the area is from clay to clay loam.

Table 1

Soil Chemical Properties in the Study Site

Soil Properties

Sample Site

Total

Mean

1

2

3

4

5

6

A. Initial

pH

5.2

5.6

5.6

5.2

5.6

5.6

32.8

5.47

Organic Matter

1.0

1.2

1.0

1.0

2.2

.10

6.50

1.08

Nitrogen

.05

.06

.05

.05

.11

.05

0.37

0.06

K (ppm)

50

135

110

75

85

85

540

90.0

P (ppm)

trace

trace

Trace

trace

trace

trace

B. End of the Study

pH

4.0

4.8

4.8

4.9

4.9

4.8

28.2

4.70

Organic Matter

1.0

2.8

.05

trace

2.0

1.0

1.37

0.274

Nitrogen

.05

.15

.03

trace

.10

.05

0.38

0.076

K (ppm)

170

500

360

500

350

460

2,330

380.33

P (ppm)

trace

trace

Trace

trace

trace

trace

Table 2 showed the temperature reading in the area that was recorded for twelve (12) months to determine the average temperature in the area. The lowest temperature was recorded on January, with 15 degrees Celsius, while the highest on August with 25 degrees Celsius. In general, the temperature ranged from 17.58 degrees Celsius to 22.67 degrees Celsius. The lowest was in the morning, then, the highest was during noon time, and again, it decreased towards the afternoon.

Table 2

Temperature in the Study Site

Months

Time

1

S

2

O

3

N

4

D

5

J

6

F

7

M

8

A

9

M

10

J

11

J

12

A

Mean

A.M.

17

18

18

16

15

16

16

20

20

20

17

18

17.58

Noon

24

23

22

22

21

22

23

24

21

22

23

25

22.67

P.M.

21

21

21

20

19

20

20

20

19

20

20

21

20.17

First month â€" Sept, Twelve month â€" August

A.M. 5-7, Noon 12-1, P.M. 4-6

Table 3 showed that the survival rate of the Tiger grass planted in the study site was very good with a mean of 97.35 % survival rate. This indicated that theTiger grass could survive at the experimental forest area even with very little care and maintenance for it to survive. The figure gathered was almost the same in all of the three sites. But it was also observed during the study, that for a single Tiger grass to survive, it would take about three (3) months before it could already be considered alive.

Table 3

Survival Rate of Tiger Grass

Blocks

Mean

Site

1

2

3

Total

Site 1

Eastern Side

100

100

100

300

100

Western Side

100

84

100

284

94.7

Sub-total

200

184

200

584

97.35

Site 2

Eastern Side

84

100

100

284

94.7

Western Side

100

100

100

300

100

Sub-total

184

200

200

584

97.35

Site 3

Eastern Side

84

100

100

284

94.7

Western Side

100

100

100

300

100

Sub-total

184

200

200

584

97.35

Grand total

568

584

600

1,752

Grand Mean

97.35

Table 4 showed that the height of the Tiger grass reached to about half a meter in all of the sites. It was clear that those planted in the eastern side of the slope obtained a height which was higher than those planted in the western side of the slope. But on the average, the height ranged from 53.25 to 56.70 cm almost at the same height.

Table 4

Height Growth of Tiger Grass (cm)

Blocks

Mean

Site

1

2

3

Total

Site 1

Eastern Side

65.2

46.2

65.6

177.0

59.0

Western Side

60.5

32.5

49.5

142.5

47.5

Sub-total

125.7

78.7

115.10

319.50

53.25

Site 2

Eastern Side

59.0

61.0

92.0

212

70.70

Western Side

39.0

43.0

56.0

128.0

42.70

Sub-total

98.0

104.0

148.0

340.0

56.70

Site 3

Eastern Side

50.0

76.0

62.0

188.0

62.67

Western Side

49.0

42.0

54.0

145.0

48.33

Sub-total

99.0

118.0

116.0

333.0

55.50

Grand total

322.7

300.7

379.1

992.50

Grand Mean

55.15

Table 5 presented the number of suckers developed by each Tiger grass planted. It indicated that it did not only survive in the area, but it could also grow. The number of suckers developed had an average of 16 to 19 suckers per site. But again, those Tiger grasses planted on the eastern side of the slope developed more suckers than those planted in the western side of the slope.

Table 5

Number of Suckers Developed/Produced

Blocks

Mean

Site

1

2

3

Total

Site 1

Eastern Side

19

10

29

58

19.0

Western Side

18

16

16

50

17.0

Sub-total

37

26

45

108.0

18.0

Site 2

Eastern Side

22

18

15

55.0

18.0

Western Side

9

14

19

42.0

21.0

Sub-total

31

32

34

97.0

19.0

Site 3

Eastern Side

14

16

21

51.0

17.0

Western Side

13

14

16

43.0

14.0

Sub-total

27

30

37

94.0

16.0

Grand total

95.0

88.0

113.0

299.0

Grand Mean

18.0

Discussion

The study was conducted from September 2008 to August 2009 in three (3) different sites at the WMSU Experimental Forest, more specifically at km. 14, upper La Paz, this city. In each of the sites, three (3) blocks were laid out, one at the bottom of the slope, middle and top ridge of the mountain. The study site was cleared through brushing before planting the Tiger grass. Young stalks of Tiger grass were collected and propagated in the nursery before planting in the field. After two (2) months of hardening off, the propagated Tiger grasses were planted in the study sites following a spacing of 1.5 m. In each block, six (6) Tiger grasses were planted; thus in each site, there were eighteen (18) Tiger grasses planted. Temperature in the study site was recorded during the duration of the study. Soil samples were gathered for some chemical analysis by the Bureau of Soils at the start and at the end of the study. Round weeding was done every month to remove competitors in the area. Data were recorded monthly. This included the survival rate, height, the number of suckers developed and the number of panicles.

Based on the data gathered, the study showed that Tiger grass survived in the area, given the microclimatic condition; however, during the study there was no significant development as far as the production of panicle which was being used for the production of brooms. However, the researchers tried to observe even after the study period, wherein the Tiger grass started to develop panicle, specifically after almost twenty (20) months or a year and a half.

Based from the results of the study, Tiger grass would need longer period of time to adapt to be able to grow vigorously in a particular site. It was also observed that it would take more or less three (3) months for a single tiger grass to survive after planting in a particular place or site. During the study, the growing of panicle for the making of brooms was not seen; hence, this only indicated that the Tiger grass would start to produce its panicle at a later stage usually after 12 months as cited in some literatures.

After conducting the study for twelve (12) months, the following activities were hereby recommended: A similar study should be conducted on a longer period of time. Other vegetation, such as the type of grasses in the area should be taken into consideration since it may compete with the growth of tiger grass in the area. The application of fertilizer at the early stage of the Tiger grass can be well considered to enhance the growth of the grass. The tiger grass can also be considered as erosion control measures, therefore planting of the said grass is highly recommended in erosion prone areas. Moreover, a study can also be done in agroforestry farm/s where the tiger grass can be planted in between other crops thereby increasing the productivity of the land. In reforestation activities, the tiger grass can also be considered to be planted in between reforestation tree species at the early stage, thereby, making the land more productive while waiting for the reforestation tree species to be mature. Massive propagation and or plantation of Tiger grass in the area can be done for the production of brooms; this will enhance the income of the farmers in the area particularly the mothers/wives of farmers. A feasibility study may be done for this purpose.

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