Sericea lespedeza is an aggressive invasive plant which can suppress and displace native plant species in grasslands and prairies in the United States. Currently is rapidly spreading throughout the U.S and has been estimated to eventually invade about 61% of the total land area. Lespedeza has become a successful colonizer because of its ability to tolerate and thrive under a wide range of environmental and soil conditions. Once established, lespedeza is very difficult to remove due to its persistent seed bank which can remain viable for years. To successfully control lespedeza, we must find effective ways to suppress or kill seeds in the soil, but this has received little research attention. In our work, we first characterized the soil seed bank at different invaded sites on SIUE campus using the seedling emergence method. In the second part of this research, we assessed the success of a pre-emergent herbicide (Preen®) in preventing the germination of lespedeza seed bank after lespedeza removal. We also evaluated the growth of a native grass (Sorghastrum nutans) as a replacement species.
The results from the soil seed bank study showed that lespedeza germinates rapidly (< 7 d) and develops a large soil seed bank, emphasizing the capacity of this plant to colonize and occupy space quickly. The second part of the research demonstrated the remarkable growth success of the Indian grass which proved it to be an aggressive native warm-season grass that might compete with invasive plants for space in grassland habitats. Our experience in one of the study sites (Nature Preserve) suggested a case of apparent competition. This mechanism helps lespedeza outcompete and displace native plant species. Lastly, the results also showed that although the actual change was small, the herbicide treatment had a significant effect on the number of lespedeza seedlings that emerged.
|Advisor:||Schulz, Kurt E.|
|Commitee:||Esselman, Elizabeth, Zhi-Qing, Lin|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 57/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Botany, Ecology, Plant sciences|
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