Internship Program Reports

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An independent study project report by The Eli Kirk Price Endowed Flora of Pennsylvania Intern (2012-2013)


Current management goals of the natural lands section of the Morris Arboretum revolve heavily around invasive species control. One of the most prolific invaders is reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), a cool season perennial grass. Reed canarygrass has formed a dense stand in a section of the meadow that experiences seasonal inundation of Wissahickon Creek flood waters and is occurring in adjacent areas within the floodplain meadow. Heavy seeding and planting with natives is recommended following removal of P. arundinacea to prevent re-establishment through competition (Wisconsin Reed Canary Grass Management Working Group, 2009).

This project seeks to quantify and compare the species composition of the extant vegetation and the soil seed bank to assess environmental sources of native viable propagules for restoration. Species richness and relative percent cover were measured in plots placed in both the reed canarygrass dominated and adjacent uninvaded areas in the floodplain as well as the sloping upland section of meadow. Associated soil cores were collected at 5-cm depth increments to 15-cm, cold stratified, and assayed for viable seed in a controlled greenhouse. Viable seed reduced with depth in the soil column. Seed samples from the reed canarygrass section of the meadow exhibited higher species richness than the associated extant vegetation and canarygrass seedling abundance reduced with depth. This data on the composition of the soil seed bank are integral to developing appropriate management actions designed to promote target restoration species while controlling invasives.



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Date Posted: 09 September 2019