Nitrogen fertilization effects on aged Miscanthus × giganteus stands: Exploring biomass yield, yield components, and biomass prediction using in-season morphological traits

Nictor Namoi, Chunhwa Jang, Gevan D. Behnke, Jung Woo Lee, Wendy Yang, Do Kyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For sustainable biomass production of Miscanthus × giganteus (hereafter miscanthus), understanding the impact of stand age and nitrogen (N) fertilization on biomass yield is crucial. This study investigated the effects of varying N fertilization rates (0, 56, 112, and 168 kg N ha−1) on yield components (tiller height, density, and weight) and their correlations with end-of-season biomass yield in miscanthus. We also explored end-of-season biomass yield prediction using in-season traits (canopy height, leaf area index, and leaf chlorophyll content [LCC]). The study was conducted at two sites in Illinois: a previously unfertilized 10-year-old miscanthus research stand at Urbana and a 16-year-old commercial stand at Pesotum with a history of annual 56N application. Results from 2018 to 2021 in Urbana and 2020 to 2021 in Pesotum showed increased biomass yields with N fertilization, varying by rate, year, and location. Biomass yield in Pesotum peaked at 56N, while in Urbana, it increased significantly at 112 kg N ha−1. Biomass yield was strongly correlated with tiller height and weight measured at Urbana across N rates. Morphological traits measured every 2–3 weeks during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons showed that canopy height was the strongest single predictor of miscanthus biomass yield, followed by LCC. Mid-August to September measurements of these traits were the best predictors of biomass yield. Multiple regressions involving the canopy height and LCC further improved yield predictions. We conclude that while N enhances biomass yields of aging miscanthus, the optimum rate depends on the site, environmental conditions, and management history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13139
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • aging
  • biomass yield and yield components
  • canopy height
  • leaf area index
  • leaf chlorophyll content
  • Miscanthus × giganteus
  • nitrogen
  • perennial
  • plant height
  • tiller weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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