A wax girdle in place on a clover branch, designed to block phloem and polar auxin transport from the branch but leave it as a sink for xylem transported substance.
As the perennial grasses and legumes that provide the bulk of the foodstock for the New Zealand pastoral industry are clonal species, it is important we understand the clonal growth processes underpinning pasture production. In particular, AgResearch's efforts focus on increasing our knowledge of the regulation of branching in clonal species.
The rate of branching in relation to the rate of death of apices determines whether the population increases or decreases over time and therefore is a major factor influencing productivity. We use white clover as a model species and have developed a whole plant experimental system that provides us with the capability to incisively investigate the opposing influences of nodal roots and apical buds on branch development.
We have developed a theoretical model of the regulation of branching phenotype. Our current research is focused on experimentally testing all the assumptions underpinning this theoretical model.