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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Allelopathy of Frangula Alnus to Native New England Wetland Vegetation at Harvard Forest 2008

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  • Lead: Kristina Stinson
  • Investigators: Amy Mays
  • Contact: Kristina Stinson
  • Start date: 2008
  • End date: 2008
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Harvard Forest Experimental Lath Houses
  • Latitude: -72.19
  • Longitude: +42.53
  • Elevation: 330 meter
  • Taxa: Frangula alnus, Alnus incana ssp. rugosa, Spiraea latifolia
  • Release date: 2011
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.172.7
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: invasive plants, pests and pathogens
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: competition, invasive species, wetlands
  • Abstract:

    Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus), an invasive shrub from Eurasia, colonizes both upland and mesic sites in New England, USA, reducing the growth and survival of native tree saplings and lowering species richness. Although a generalist, buckthorn thrives particularly well along river, pond, and wetland margins, which are traditional habitat for speckled alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa), a native nitrogen-fixing shrub. As buckthorn’s dense, monospecific growth is typical of allelopaths, we wondered whether it chemically suppresses the growth of alder and other indigenous shrubs. We thus propagated three native shrub species: Alnus incana ssp. rugosa, Viburnum dentatum and Spiraea latifolia, in invasive buckthorn and native dogwood (Cornus amomum) root and leaf mulch. After seven weeks, alder grown in buckthorn root demonstrated significantly smaller basal diameter than alder grown in buckthorn leaf or other mulches. Therefore, putative buckthorn allelopathy to alder likely occurs through root exudation instead of leaf litter effects. Meadowsweet grown in buckthorn mulch, in contrast, was taller, thicker, and had more numerous leaves than meadowsweet grown in native mulch. These species-specific effects point to allelopathy as a mechanism by which buckthorn changes the structure of native plant communities.

  • Methods:

    We purchased all bioassay plants from New England Wetland Plants (NEWP), a restoration nursery in Amherst, Massachsetts. NEWP growers started alder from local seed in the spring of 2006, and propagated arrowwood and meadowsweet from cuttings made in Amherst in June of 2007. These plants, similar in size, overwintered for one season in Shutesbury, Massachusetts prior to their inclusion in this experiment. During experimental set-up, I inoculated each alder plant with 150 ml of aqueous-medium Frankia.

    Treatments: (a) Frangula alnus (glossy buckthorn) root (FR). (b) Frangula alnus leaf (FL). (c) Cornus amomum (silky dogwood) root (CR). (d) Cornus amomum leaf (CL). (e) no mulch (0).

    We gathered root and leaf tissue of both Frangula alnus and Cornus amomum in September 2007 from three different sites in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts: Wentworth Farm and Plum Brook Conservation Areas in Amherst and, in neighboring Shutesbury, at the corner of Buffam and North Valley Roads. I harvested material from three different plants at each site, which I then air-dried for a month and packed in sealed Ziploc bags for storage through the winter. In May 2008, Plant, Soil and Water Laboratory in Athens, Georgia analyzed the ratio of carbon to nitrogen present in each mulch type. In July 2008, I applied mulches to bioassay plants in 12% dry weight concentrations of mulch tissue to soil. Every two and a half weeks, until final data collection on 8/26/08, I measured bioassay plant treatment responses

    Soil: Sungro Sunshine Mix #2 with no fertilizer charge to avoid deactivating the N-fixing capacity of Frankia.

    Replications: 12.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Stinson K. 2011. Allelopathy of Frangula Alnus to Native New England Wetland Vegetation at Harvard Forest 2008. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF172.

Detailed Metadata

hf172-01: Frangula

  1. date: date
  2. plant.num: randomly assigned identification tag
  3. bioassay.sp.: bioassay species
    • A: Alnus incana
    • S: Spirea latifolia
    • V: Viburnum dentatum
  4. treatment.sp.: treatment specis
    • C: Cornus amomum
    • F: Frangula alnus
    • o: control (no mulch)
  5. treatment.organ: tretment organ
    • L: leaf
    • R: root
    • o: contro (no mulch)
  6. survival: survival
    • 1: yes
    • NA: bioassay plant dead
  7. height: height of bioassay plant (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. basal.diam: basal diameter of bioassay plant (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. number of live leaves on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  10. leaf.num.dead: number of dead leaves on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  11. number of living branches on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  12. branch.num.dead: number of dead branches on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  13. flower.num: number of flowers on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  14. fruit.num: number of fruits on bioassay plant (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  15. notes: notes