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 OJE  Vol.2 No.3 , August 2012
Litter cover of the invasive tree Melaleuca quinquenervia influences seedling emergence and survival
Abstract: Exotic tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (melaleuca) deposits large quantities of slowly decomposing litter biomass that accumulates over time and covers forest floors in its adventive habitats in Florida (USA). Herein, we assessed the influence of melaleuca litter cover, seed addition, and seeding date on seedling emergence and survival. The assessment was conducted by ma-nipulating litter cover and seed inputs of melaleuca and two native species at different dates in two soil types. Litter cover was either removed or left in place in organic and arenaceous soils within melaleuca stands. Each of the three treatment plots were seeded with melaleuca, wax myrtle or sawgrass, while the fourth plot was not seeded and served as the control. Seedlings were counted at 2-wk intervals to determine cumulative seedling emergence and survival during the experimental period. The experiment was repeated four times within a year. Soil type did not influence seedling emergence of all three species but influenced survival of wax myrtle. Litter removal increased the emergence of melaleuca, sawgrass, and wax myrtle and increased the survival of melaleuca. Seed addition increased the emergence and survival of sawgrass and wax myrtle but made no difference for melaleuca. Seeding during the periods of high soil moisture content had positive effects on the emergence and survival of melaleuca, wax myrtle, and sawgrass seedlings. These findings are deemed useful in planning active restoration for melaleuca invaded sites.
Cite this paper: Rayamajhi, M. , Pratt, P. , Tipping, P. and Center, T. (2012) Litter cover of the invasive tree Melaleuca quinquenervia influences seedling emergence and survival. Open Journal of Ecology, 2, 131-140. doi: 10.4236/oje.2012.23016.
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