Effects of temperature and mulch depth on Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) seed germination
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Shredding mowers can be used in prairie and savannah restoration to quickly eliminate trees, such as the invasive Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum), and leave a layer of mulch on the ground. Sapium has shown highest germination rates in fluctuating daily temperatures, and mulch has been shown to damp those fluctuations in the field. A lab study was conducted to separate direct effects of mulch depth and indirect effects from changes in soil temperatures on Sapium seed germination. Sapium seeds were exposed to different combinations of mulch depth and temperature oscillations. Sapium seeds showed highest germination in large temperature oscillation treatments regardless of the depth of the mulch. Seedlings were able to emerge through mulch up to 10 cm deep, the maximum used in this study. While herbicide use appears to be necessary because of resprouting from stumps, this study indicates that mulching Sapium trees shows promise as a restoration tool by removing existing trees as well as by reducing Sapium regeneration from seed through the indirect effects of mulch on seed germination. The lower subsequent seedling numbers might reduce the frequency and intensity of future herbicide treatments.
author list (cited authors)
Donahue, C., Rogers, W. E., & Siemann, E.
complete list of authors
Donahue, C||Rogers, WE||Siemann, E