The University of Arizona

Selected factors affecting seedling recruitment of dalmatian toadflax.

M.J. Grieshop, R.M. Nowierski

Abstract


Seedling recruitment of Dalmatian toadflax, (Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica (L.) Maire and Petitmengin (Scrophulariaceae)), was examined in a 2-year field study in Montana using overseeding and plant/insect exclusion methods, to determine whether it was more limited by seed availability or interspecific plant competition. Overseeding test plots with toadflax seed had no effect on seedling recruitment. Exclusion of plant competition (via herbicide application and pruning) significantly increased total, and cumulative seedling recruitment of Dalmatian toadflax on the last sampling date in 3 of 4, and 2 of 4 cases examined, respectively. Insect exclusion (via insecticide application) significantly increased total seedling recruitment of Dalmatian toadflax on the last sampling date in only 1 of 4 cases examined, and had no effect on cumulative seedling recruitment of Dalmatian toadflax on the last sampling date. We conclude that seedling recruitment in Dalmatian toadflax was more strongly influenced by plant competition than herbivory in our study. Hence, microsite limitation (i.e., competition for "safe sites for germination") rather than seed limitation appears to play a more important role in toadflax seedling recruitment. In light of this, current biological control agents that impact seed production will likely have minimal capabilities of influencing toadflax density. Thus, a premium should be placed on establishing biological control agents that are able to cause significant damage to the stem and root system of Dalmatian toadflax, and in maintaining a healthy plant community that, through interspecific competition, will negatively affect toadflax seedling recruitment.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v55i6_grieshop


Keywords


biological control agents;Linaria dalmatica;Nitidulidae;brachypterolus pulicarius;oversowing;recruitment;insect control;biological control;poisonous weeds;roots;crop-weed competition;stems;seedling emergence;seed productivity;weed control;seedlings;range management;Montana;invasive species;ecological invasion

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