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Keywords:

  • Bracken;
  • Pteridium aquilinum;
  • model;
  • carbohydrate co

Summary

This paper examines the initial effects of bracken control on frond numbers and biomass, and the biomass, carbohydrate reserves and bud densities of bracken stands cut once per year, twice per year, subject to a single application of asulam or left untreated. The seasonal dynamics of these parameters are displayed; carbohydrate and biomass are both removed from the rhizome system to produce frond tissue, and are replenished at the end of the growing season. Asulam application reduced densities of both active and dormant buds, and both frond biomass and density. It did not significantly reduce rhizome biomass or carbohydrate reserves in the two years after treatment. Cutting, either once or twice per year reduced both rhizome biomass and rhizome carbohydrate reserves, as well as bud densities, though the latter were reduced in proportion to biomass. Cutting twice a year reduced the production of fronds, both in numbers and biomass. The collected data were used to evaluate a model of bracken growth, and subsequently to improve estimates of some of the model parameters. The model simulations of control treatments were compared to field data. The effects of cutting once per year and spraying with asulam were predicted accurately, but the bracken stand was more resilient to cutting twice per year than would be expected from model predictions. The combination of cutting and spraying is discussed as a potential tool in land management and the deficiencies of the model are discussed in relation to the need for future research into the biology of bracken.