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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Aquatic and Riparian Weed Management to Protect U.S. Water Resources in the Far West United States

Location: Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research

Title: Response of Arundo Donax to Intermittent Shading

Author
item Spencer, David

Submitted to: Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 29, 2012
Publication Date: March 30, 2012
Repository URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1614/IPSM-D-11-00087.1
Citation: Spencer, D.F. 2012. Response of Arundo Donax to Intermittent Shading. Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management. 5:317-322.

Interpretive Summary: Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) occurs throughout the southern half of the US from California to Maryland. It is considered an invasive plant in some parts of this range but not others. To understand how giant reed successfully invades new habitats, we performed experiments to determine the effect of shading on several aspects of its growth. We found that giant reed tolerated significant shading (i.e., 90% reduction of full sun) and, that shading also caused changes in a number of plant characteristics, such as stem height, internode length, leaf nitrogen, leaf chlorophyll content, specific leaf weight, total leaf area per plant, and leaf lifespan. Arundo donax’s ability to persist and grow under intermittent low light conditions implies that plants would be poised to take advantage of sun flecks and disturbances that create gaps within the resident plant community.

Technical Abstract: A species’ successful invasion into a new site depends on its ability to persist in the local environment. Thus, knowledge of environmental limitations on growth and reproduction will provide a mechanistic understanding of the invasion process and lead to practical management solutions. We conducted an experiment to examine the response of Arundo donax L. (giant reed) to intermittent periods of shading for three years. Results indicate that A. donax tolerated significant shading (i.e., 90% reduction of full sun) and, that shading also caused changes in a number of plant characteristics, such as stem height, internode length, leaf nitrogen, leaf chlorophyll content, specific leaf weight, total leaf area per plant, and leaf lifespan. Arundo donax’s ability to persist and grow under intermittent low light conditions implies that plants would be poised to take advantage of sun flecks and disturbances that create gaps within the resident plant community.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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