Summary Many grasses and forbs are perennial plants that have morphological and physiological characteristics necessary for survival and production year after year. Growth is initiated each year from buds at the base of perennial plants. Apical and intercalary meristems develop and are sites of plant growth through the growing season. Photosynthesis in green plants is the process of converting solar energy to chemical energy and bringing carbon into the plant. The immediate products of photosynthesis are carbohydrates which are used for maintenance and production in plants. Carbohydrates can be stored in the plant for later use when amounts produced are in excess of current needs.
Perennial plants are commonly defoliated during some part of the year. Perennial plant response to defoliation is largely determined by (1) location of the growing point, (2) timing of the defoliation, (3) amount of green plant tissue remaining following defoliation, and (4) amount of energy reserves. Defoliation is not necessarily detrimental to a perennial grass plant when the growing point is not removed, much of the growing season remains, and much green leaf tissue and/or energy reserves remain following defoliation.