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Do grasses prefer their nitrogen in the nitrate form?

  1. Jul 23, 2015 #1
    "Most vegetables, annuals and grasses prefer their nitrogen in the nitrate form and as such do better in alkaline inclined soils dominated by bacteria. Most trees, shrubs and perennials prefer their nitrogen in the ammonium form and as such do better in acid inclined soils dominated by fungi."
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2015 #2
    "Established science" is a tricky term.

    Do you mean mentioned in one peer-reviewed paper, believed by most of the experts in a field, not disputed by any scientist, or something else?
  4. Jul 24, 2015 #3
    Believed by most experts in the field is good enough for me Dr. If someone sees a deeper paradigm with the same patterns, fine, but all i am asking is this statement reasonably solid from the general consensus of contemporary science or is it specious nonsense or dogma ? I look forward to further responses. Thanks.
  5. Jul 24, 2015 #4
    Those aren't really taxonomic divisions. Most grasses are perennials. A 'shrub' can be either. What is a 'vegetable'? There is no accepted definition of a 'tree'....other than a big plant. Palms, conifers are unrelated.

    A scientific study would be monocots vs dicots, gymnosperms vs angiosperms, etc.
  6. Jul 24, 2015 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Look at this from a general perspective. You seem to define "plants" as angiosperms and gymnosperms, so then let's go with that. There are lots of other plant groups.

    First off what you're talking about is nutrient uptake. All plants are able to metabolize nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium. Plants do not 'prefer' a nitrogen "flavor", the envrionment dictates what is available. So if a plant is xeric-adatped it has to efficiently uptake and metabolize what it can get. Different types of feritlizer can alter soil pH which may screw up soil chemistry, e.g. clay flocculation. They may also alter the soil microflora.

    Since you asked about grasses let's look at where grasses and sedges grow, I've included links so you can see what they look like:

    Sedges - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyperaceae - in North America primarily in wetlands, ponds and swamps, not halophytes (salt-loving) in general.

    Spartina spp. cordgrass - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartina These are salt marsh grasses, and are halophytes.

    Poa spp. - lawn and field grasses like P. pratensis - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poa_pratensis. This is what the answer you got assumes grasses are generally like. This is purely from an ornamental use as a point of view.

    Bamboo spp - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo - They range from tropical cloud forests with 300inch annual rainfall , to xeric montane regions, to the riverbanks of the Amazon. FWIW they are relatives of Poa above. Some bamboos are amazing - you can actually hear them growing, sort of a quiet crackling noise - they grow ridiculously fast compared to almost any other higher plant.

    Hilaria belangeri - http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=hibe - These guys grow in very poor alkaline soils in very xeric conditions. I live in the North end of the Chihuahan desert (New Mexico) and this plant is common here. It is introduced.

    So, is it fair to say grasses prefer a particular environment? Probably 'No' unless you are a landscape architect in the US and Europe.
  7. Jul 25, 2015 #6
    Tinkering and pedantic admin actually changed my original title from " Is this statement established science" Thanks Jim, I am still thinking about your response.
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