Apply root dip to non-woody plants before planting: brackish/saline wetlands

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects – on emergent, non-woody plants typical of brackish/saline wetlands – of applying a non-fungal root dip before planting. The study was in the USA.

VEGETATION COMMUNITY

 

VEGETATION ABUNDANCE

  • Individual species abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study on mudflats in the USA found that root-dipping smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora before planting had mixed effects on cordgrass density after 1–2 growing seasons, but never increased it.

VEGETATION STRUCTURE

  • Height (1 study): One replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study on mudflats in the USA found that root-dipping smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora before planting had mixed effects on cordgrass height after two growing seasons.

OTHER

  • Survival (1 study): One replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study on mudflats in the USA found that root-dipped smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora plants typically had a lower survival rate, after one growing season, than plants that had not been root-dipped.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1976–1977 on two intertidal mudflats in Texas, USA (Tanner & Dodd 1985) found that applying root dip to smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora before planting typically reduced survival after one growing season, but had mixed effects on cordgrass density and height after 1–2 growing seasons. After one growing season, dipped cordgrass had a lower survival rate than undipped cordgrass in five of six comparisons (for which dipped: 3–19%; undipped: 39–85%; other comparison no significant difference). After 1–2 growing seasons, cordgrass density was statistically similar under both treatments in 7 of 12 comparisons (for which dipped: <1–191 shoots/m2; undipped: <1–168 stems/m2) but was lower in plots planted with dipped cordgrass in the other five comparisons (dipped: 1–38 stems/m2; undipped: 21–252 stems/m2). Finally, after two growing seasons, cordgrass shoots were of statistically similar height under both treatments in three of six comparisons (for which dipped: 117–120 cm; undipped: 112–122 cm) but taller in plots planted with dipped cordgrass in two comparisons (dipped: 132–139 cm; undipped: 110–119 cm) and shorter in plots planted with dipped cordgrass in the final comparison (dipped: 84 cm; undipped: 122 cm). Methods: In July 1976, thirty-six 12.5-m2 plots were established across two intertidal mudflats. Smooth cordgrass (20–100 cm tall) was transplanted into each plot (50 plants/plot, 50 cm apart. For half of the plots (9 random plots/mudflat), cordgrass was dipped into commercial root dip (Algenura-a; designed to increase water uptake) for 15 min immediately before planting. Cordgrass survival and density were recorded in October 1976. Cordgrass density and flowering shoot height were sampled in November 1977.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor N.G., Grillas P., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Marsh and Swamp Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions to Conserve Marsh and Swamp Vegetation. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

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Marsh and Swamp Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marsh and Swamp Conservation
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Marsh and Swamp Conservation - Published 2021

Marsh and Swamp Synopsis

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