Altering Light and Soil N to Limit Phalaris arundinacea Reinvasion in Sedge Meadow Restorations

Authors

  • Basil V. Iannone III,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 100 Ecology Building, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.
    2. Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, 305 Alderman Hall, 1970 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.
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  • Susan M. Galatowitsch

    1. Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, 305 Alderman Hall, 1970 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.
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Address correspondence to B. V. Iannone, email bianno2@uic.edu

Abstract

Efforts to eradicate invasive plants in restorations can unintentionally create conditions that favor reinvasion over the establishment of desired species, especially when remnant invasive propagules persist. Reducing resources needed by the invader for seedling establishment, however, may be an effective strategy to prevent reinvasion. Propagules of Phalaris arundinacea persist after removal from sedge meadow wetlands and reestablish quickly in posteradication conditions, hindering community restoration. A study was conducted in two experimental wetlands with controlled hydrologic regimes to determine if reducing light by sowing short-lived, nonpersistent native cover crops or immobilizing soil N by incorporating soil–sawdust amendments can prevent Phalaris reinvasion, allowing native communities to recover. A 10-species perennial target community and Phalaris were sown with high-diversity, low-diversity, or no cover crops in soils with or without sawdust, and seedling emergence, establishment, and growth were measured. High-diversity cover crops reduced light, decreasing Phalaris and target community seedling establishment by 89 and 57%, respectively. Short-term nitrogen reduction in sawdust-amended soils delayed Phalaris seedling emergence and decreased Phalaris seedling establishment by 59% but did not affect total target community seedling establishment. The target community reduced Phalaris seedling establishment as effectively as cover crops did. In plots where the target community was grown, amending soils with sawdust further reduced Phalaris seedling growth but not establishment. Results show that use of cover crops can reduce seedling establishment of desired species and is counterproductive to restoration goals. Further, establishing target species is more important and practical for limiting Phalaris reinvasion than is immobilizing nitrogen.

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