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Vegetative reproduction capacities of floodplain willows – cutting response to competition and biomass loss

Authors

  • A. Radtke,

    1.  Department of Biology, Conservation Biology Group, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
    2.  Present address: Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen–Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
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  • E. Mosner,

    1.  Department of Biology, Conservation Biology Group, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
    2.  Present address: Federal Institute of Hydrology, Department of Ecological Interactions, Koblenz, Germany
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  • I. Leyer

    1.  Department of Biology, Conservation Biology Group, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
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  • Editor
    M. Riederer

A. Radtke, Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen–Bolzano, Piazza Università 5, 39100 Bolzano, Italy.
E-mail: anna.radtke@natec.unibz.it

Abstract

While several studies on regeneration in Salicaceae have focused on seedling recruitment, little is known about factors controlling their vegetative reproduction. In two greenhouse experiments, we studied the response of floodplain willows (Salix fragilis, S. viminalis, S. triandra) to competition with Poa trivialis, and to shoot and root removal when planted as vegetative cuttings. In the first experiment, growth performance variables were analysed in relation to full competition, shoot competition, root competition and control, taking into account two different water levels. After 9 weeks, shoots were removed and the resprouting capacity of the bare cuttings was recorded. In the second experiment, the cutting performance of the three floodplain and an additional two fen willow species (S. cinerea, S. aurita) was compared when grown in three different soil compositions and with two different water levels. After 9 weeks, shoot and root biomass was removed and the bare cuttings were replanted to test their ability to resprout. Cutting performance and secondary resprouting were negatively affected by full and shoot competition while root competition had no or weak effects. The floodplain species performed better than the fen species in all soil types and water levels. Secondary resprouting capacity was also higher in the floodplain species, which showed an additional strong positive response to the previous waterlogging treatment. The results contribute to understanding of the vegetative regeneration ecology of floodplain willows, and suggest that the use of vegetative plantings in restoration plantings could be an effective strategy for recovering floodplain forests.

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