Management of dominant Carex species on floodplain meadows
Newman, Sonia K.
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Carex acuta and Carex acutiformis have been identified as problem plant specieson floodplain meadows in the UK and western Europe and invasive plants in wetlandhabitats in North America and Canada. A double-cut treatment has been proposed as acontrol method, however this has not been scientifically tested. This thesis explores theecology of C. aeuta and C. aeutiformis, the effectiveness of a double cut treatment ontheir control, the effects of the cutting treatment on the plant community and potentialmechanisms regulating the expansion and persistence of the dominant sedge speciesin sub-optimal conditions. Field trials were set up to monitor the effects of cuttingtreatment on the meadow vegetation and pot experiments assess the effects of cuttingon Carex plant traits. Mesocosm experiments were also undertaken to explore therelationships between water regime, microbial community and plant competition.The field trials revealed that a double cut was a successful treatment to controlC. aeuta and C. aeutiformis on ftoodplain meadows. The frequency of the cuttingtreatment was more important than the timing of the additional cut in controlling C.aeufa and C. aeutiformis. Carex traits were not affected by the timing of defoliation,however flowering in C. aeufa significantly decreased with a double cut compared toa single cut. The microbial community had no effect on the plant community in themesocosm experiment, the reasons for this are discussed. Drying stress decreased theyield, but not necessarily the percentage cover of the studied sedges and increasedthe cover of drought tolerant plants in the field and in the mesocosm experiments.Recommendations of short-term treatments to control C. aeuta and C. aeutiformis arepresented in this study.