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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Huebner, Cynthia [1].

Above- and Belowground Competition between Ailanthus altissima and Two Native Tree Species.

Ailanthus altissima is one of the most prolific tree invaders in disturbed areas throughout much of the eastern United States. Its success as an invader is often attributed to a superior competitive ability over associated native species, but with limited evidence to support or refute this assumption. This study compares the competitive ability of A. altissima (AA) with Rhus typhina (RT) and Acer rubrum (AR) in a greenhouse and common garden. In the greenhouse, five different density combinations under four light levels were examined over a three month period. In the common garden, four species combinations and two fertilizer levels were examined over two growing seasons. Transplants were used to ensure the correct starting density. Survival and tree height were measured for all plants, and shoot and root biomass was determined for the greenhouse plants. Survival did not differ significantly among the species and treatments in the greenhouse. In the common garden, AR had the lowest survival rate (55%), followed by AA (64%) and RT (82%). In the greenhouse and common garden, RT and AA were taller and had greater shoot biomass than AA and AR, respectively, in every density combination and light treatment. These patterns were more pronounced under the fertilized treatments in the common garden. Based on shoot growth RT is a better competitor than AA and AA is a better competitor than AR. When grown alone, AA showed no significant difference in root-to-shoot ratio among the light levels. However, when grown with other AA, RT, or AR individuals, its root-to-shoot ratio was higher than that of the other species under the two higher light treatments, even when growing alone with multiple stems of the other species. Competition combined with light appears to stimulate root growth in AA, which could give AA an advantage in subsequent growing seasons.

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1 - 1514 Westbrook Dr, Morgantown, WV, 26508, USA

Ailanthus altissima
Rhus typhina
Acer rubrum
invasive species.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 9
Location: Salon 17/18/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 9001
Abstract ID:714
Candidate for Awards:None

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