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The performance of Phragmites communis Trin. in relation to water supply. 1970. Annals of Botany. 34, 867—77.


Water table is one of the factors controlling the distribution and performance of Phragmites communis Trin. Dense stands normally lose more water through evapotranspiration than is supplied by rain. However, Phragmites grows in a wide range of regimes, and is limited, in Britain, more by nutrient status than by water depth at its wetter limit, and more by competition than by water shortage at its drier limit.

Rhizome level and the level of bud initiation are affected by water table, but performance of aerial shoots need not be affected by this, in the ordinary water regimes. Soil aeration, in the range found in East Anglia, does not affect performance, but if cut (or broken) reed is flooded, thus impeding aeration, performance decreases. Once a seasonal patter of water-level fluctuations is established, departure from this (causing drying in a season the stand is normally flooded) disturbs the growth cycle and lowers the yield.