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Keywords:

  • invasion biology;
  • root biomass;
  • shoot biomass;
  • weed control;
  • wetlands

Abstract

Phalaris arundinacea L. is an aggressive species that can dominate wetlands by producing monotypic stands that suppress native vegetation. In this study invasion windows were created for native species in monotypic stands of P. arundinacea with either fire or herbicide. Three native species groups, herbaceous plants, herbaceous seeds, and woody shrubs, were planted into plots burned or treated with herbicide in the early spring. Fire did not create an effective invasion window for native species; there was no difference in P. arundinacea root and shoot biomass or cover between burned and control plots (p≥ 0.998). Herbicide treatment created an invasion window for native species by reducing P. arundinacea root and shoot biomass for two growing seasons, but that invasion window was fast closing by the end of the second growing season because P. arundinacea shoot biomass had nearly reached the shoot biomass levels in the control plots (p= 0.053). Transplant mortality, frost, and animal herbivory prevented the herbaceous species and woody seedlings from becoming fully established in the plots treated with herbicide during the first year of the experiment. Transplanted monocots had a greater survival than dicots. By the second growing season the herbaceous group had the greatest mean areal cover (5%), compared to the woody seedlings (3%) and seed group (0%). Long-term monitoring of the plots will determine whether the herbaceous transplants will compete effectively with P. arundinacea and whether the woody species will survive, shade the P. arundinacea, and accelerate forest succession.