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Fire and Fertilization Effects on the Growth and Spread of Rhizome-Transplanted Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea)

Authors

  • James J. Zaczek,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, U.S.A.
    2. Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, U.S.A.
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  • Sara G. Baer,

    1. Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, U.S.A.
    2. Center for Ecology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, U.S.A.
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  • David J. Dalzotto

    1. Department of Forestry, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, U.S.A.
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J. J. Zaczek, email zaczek@siu.edu

Abstract

In the United States, clonal bamboo stands dominated by giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea), historically described as “canebrakes,” have been largely degraded or replaced by land conversion to agriculture. Due to limited and sporadic flowering and seed production of this species, restoration typically requires transplanting rhizomes, but there is limited information on establishment success and factors that influence growth and clonal spread of transplanted stock. We tested the effects of fertilization and prescribed fire applied alone and in combination on the growth and spread of giant cane in a 4-year old planting. In rows containing transplanted rhizomes, multiple aspects of giant cane establishment (i.e., percent cover, culm density, height, diameter, and lateral spread) increased over time. Following 2 years of inorganic nutrient (N, P, and K) addition, there was a decrease in culm mortality. Giant cane exhibited reduced cover, height, and culm diameter over the short-term in response to prescribed burning. Fertilization did not offset the short-term negative impact of fire on these variables. However, burning increased culm density in planted rows and adjacent areas. In conclusion, fertilizing establishing giant cane may reduce mortality, and periodic burning can increase density and spread of this species, which should promote establishment over the long-term.

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