The effect of different densities of tussocks (Festuca novae-zelandiae, Poa laevis) in short tussock grassland associations was studied using transplanted cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerate) seedlings as indicators of inter-tussock plant growth. The dense tussock associations considerably modified the microclimate, reduced frost damage and initially promoted cocksfoot growth. Sparse tussock associations did not generally promote cocksfoot growth unless plants were near the tussock base and sheltered from the prevailing wind
Flowering intensity and plant size were monitored in 155 Festuca novae-zelandiae individuals over four years to determine if trade-offs exist between inflorescence production and vegetative growth, and between inflorescence production in different years. Less than half of the population flowered in any one year, 36% of individuals did not flower at all, and only 17% flowered in all four years of the study. Mean number of inflorescences per individual per year varied from 1.54 to 5.53 (maximum = 85).