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Herbicide management of invasive cattail (Typha × glauca) increases porewater nutrient concentrations

Lawrence, B.A., S.C.Lishawa, Y. Rodriguez and N.C.Tuchman . 2015. Springer Netherlands


Invasive wetland plants are the primary targets of wetland management to promote native communities and wildlife habitat, but little is known about how commonly implemented restoration techniques influence nutrient cycling. We tested how experimental mowing, herbicide application, and biomass harvest (i.e., removal of aboveground biomass) treatments of Typha-invaded mesocosms altered porewater nutrient (NO3 -, NH4 - , PO4-3) concentration and supply rate, vegetation response, and light penetration to the soil surface. We found that while herbicide application eliminated the target species, it also reduced native plant density and biomass, as well as increased porewater nutrient concentration (PO4-3, NO3 -) and supply rates (N, P, K) up to a year after treatments were implemented. Because herbicide application promotes nutrient enrichment, it may increase the likelihood of reinvasion by problematic wetland invaders, as well as cause eutrophication and deleterious algal blooms in adjacent aquatic systems. Our data suggest that biomass harvest should be considered by managers aiming to reduce Typha abundance without eradicating native diversity, avoid nutrient leaching, as well as possibly utilizing biomass for bioenergy.

Key Words

Biomass harvest, Hybrid cattail Glyphosate, Mowing Management, Wetland management