Study

Plastic weed matting is better than jute or woodchips for controlling the invasive wetland grass species Phalaris arundinacea, but not Phragmites australis

  • Published source details Greet J., King E. & Stewart-Howie M. (2016) Plastic weed matting is better than jute or woodchips for controlling the invasive wetland grass species Phalaris arundinacea, but not Phragmites australis. Plant Protection Quarterly, 31, 19-22.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add surface mulch before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Add surface mulch before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Add cover other than mulch before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Add cover other than mulch before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Use fences or barriers to protect freshwater wetlands planted with trees/shrubs

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Directly plant trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Add surface mulch before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2014–2015 in two degraded floodplain swamps in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) found that mulching plots with woodchips before planting native understory herbs increased their cover in one of the swamps, but had no significant effect in the other. Cover was monitored one year after planting. In one swamp, invaded by common reed Phragmites australis, mulched plots had higher cover of native understory herbs (26%) than unmulched plots (4%). The mulched plots also had lower reed cover (mulched: 40%; unmulched: 73%). In the other swamp, invaded by reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea, mulched plots had statistically similar cover of native understory herbs (3%) to unmulched plots (2%). Canarygrass cover was also similar between treatments (mulched: 96%; unmulched: 99%). Methods: In February–March 2014, four 100-m2 plots were established in each of two floodplain wetlands. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control common reed or reed canarygrass) and fenced to exclude large animals. Four plots (two random plots/swamp) were mulched with eucalypt Eucalyptus sp. woodchips. All plots were then planted with native understory herbs (3 plants/m2; species not reported), plus shrubs (1 plant/m2) and tree seedlings (1 plant/2 m2). Vegetation was surveyed in March 2015, in five 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Add surface mulch before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2014–2015 in two degraded floodplain swamps in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) found that mulching plots with woodchips before planting native shrubs and tree seedlings had no significant effect on their cover or height. One year after planting, mulched and unmulched plots had statistically similar cover of native shrubs (mulched: 5–14%; unmulched: 4–8%) and swamp gum Eucalyptus camphora (mulched: 6–20%; unmulched: 7–11%). Swamp gum saplings were a statistically similar height in mulched and unmulched plots (data not reported). Mulching reduced the cover of problematic common reed Phragmites australis in one swamp (mulched: 40%; unmulched: 73%) but had no significant effect on the cover of problematic reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea in the other (mulched: 96%; unmulched: 99%).  Methods: In February–March 2014, four 100-m2 plots were established in each of two floodplain wetlands. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control common reed or reed canarygrass) and fenced to exclude large animals. Four plots (two random plots/site) were mulched with eucalypt Eucalyptus sp. woodchips. All plots were then planted with native shrubs (1 plant/m2; species not reported), swamp gum seedlings (1 plant/2 m2) and understory herbs (3 plants/m2). Vegetation was surveyed in March 2015, in five 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  3. Add cover other than mulch before/after planting non-woody plants: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2014–2015 in a degraded floodplain swamp in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) found that covering plots with plastic or jute matting before planting native understory herbs increased their cover. One year after planting, plots with mats had higher cover of native understory herbs (18–33%) than plots without mats (2–4%). Plots with mats also had lower cover of problematic reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea and common reed Phragmites australis (4–28%) than plots without mats (73–99%). Methods: In February–March 2014, six 100-m2 plots were established in each of two floodplain wetlands. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control reed canarygrass or common reed) and fenced to exclude large animals. Four plots (two random plots/site) received each cover treatment: plastic weed matting, jute matting, or no matting. All plots were then planted with native understory herbs (3 plants/m2; species not reported), plus shrubs (1 plant/m2) and tree seedlings (1 plant/2 m2). Holes were cut in the matting to allow planting. Vegetation was surveyed in March 2015, in five 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  4. Add cover other than mulch before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2014–2015 in two degraded floodplain swamps in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) found that covering plots with plastic or jute matting before planting native shrubs and tree seedlings had no significant effect on their cover or height. One year after planting, plots with and without mats had statistically similar cover of native shrubs (mats: 7–14%; no mats: 4–8%) and swamp gum Eucalyptus camphora (mats: 11–22%; no mats: 7–11%). Swamp gum saplings were a statistically similar height in plots with and without mats (data not reported). Additionally, plots with mats had lower cover of problematic reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea and common reed Phragmites australis (4–28%) than plots without mats (73–99%). Methods: In February–March 2014, six 100-m2 plots were established in each of two floodplain wetlands. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control reed canarygrass or common reed) and fenced to exclude large animals. Four plots (two random plots/site) received each cover treatment: plastic weed matting, jute matting, or no matting. All plots were then planted with native shrubs (1 plant/m2; species not reported), swamp gum seedlings (1 plant/2 m2) and understory herbs (3 plants/m2). Holes were cut in the matting to allow planting. Vegetation was surveyed in March 2015, in five 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  5. Use fences or barriers to protect freshwater wetlands planted with trees/shrubs

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2014–2015 in two degraded floodplain swamps in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) reported that fencing to exclude browsing and grazing mammals increased survival of planted swamp gum Eucalyptus camphora seedlings. Over one year, seedlings within fenced plots had a 98–100% survival rate. In contrast, seedlings in unfenced plots had a 0–4% survival rate. Methods: In March 2014, swamp gum seedlings were planted into eighteen 100-m2 plots across two floodplain wetlands (50 seedlings/plot). In each wetland, eight plots had been fenced and one was left open. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea or common reed Phragmites australis), and planted with native shrubs and herbs along with swamp gum. Some fenced plots were also covered with matting or woodchips. Seedling survival was monitored in March 2015.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  6. Directly plant trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated study in 2014–2015 in two degraded floodplain swamps in Victoria, Australia (Greet et al. 2016) reported 0100% survival of planted swamp gum Eucalyptus camphora seedlings over one year, largely depending on whether herbivores were excluded or not. In plots fenced to exclude browsing and grazing mammals, 98–100% of seedlings survived. In unfenced plots, only 0–4% of seedlings survived. Methods: In March 2014, swamp gum seedlings were planted into eighteen 100-m2 plots across two floodplain wetlands (50 seedlings/plot). In each wetland, eight plots had been fenced and one was left open. All plots had been recently cut and sprayed with herbicide (to control reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea or common reed Phragmites australis), and planted with native shrubs and herbs along with swamp gum. Some fenced plots were also covered with matting or woodchips. Seedling survival was monitored in March 2015.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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