Presentation Title

Testing the Potential of Activated Carbon As a Soil Amendment to Ameliorate Legacy Effects of Foeniculum vulgare on California Native Plants

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-#86

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Ecological restoration approaches that ameliorate soil conditions may be important for the recovery of native plant populations threatened by introduced species. Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), a non-native plant introduced to California, is a putative allelopathic plant; its release of chemicals in the soil may negatively affect neighboring plants. In a companion study, we found evidence that fennel has legacy effects, inhibiting seedling emergence and growth of California native plants after its removal. Thus, fennel’s widespread distribution throughout the state may have lasting impacts on native flora. The addition of activated carbon as a soil amendment could ameliorate these impacts. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that amending soil with activated carbon reduces the negative effects of fennel allelopathy. We grew California native plant species Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) and Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) in four treatments: soil with previous fennel growth (conditioned), conditioned soil with activated carbon, greenhouse soil with activated carbon, and a control greenhouse soil without carbon. All treatments were fertilized. We measured seedling emergence, plant height, and final root and shoot biomass. We found that, at the amount used, activated carbon addition had no impact on California native plants growth in conditioned soil, and may have improved emergence for yarrow. However, we did find additional support for edaphic legacy impacts of fennel on California poppy and common yarrow. Further investigations are needed to pinpoint the specific impacts of fennel on soil properties and to determine appropriate remediation approaches for restoration target areas impacted by fennel.

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Testing the Potential of Activated Carbon As a Soil Amendment to Ameliorate Legacy Effects of Foeniculum vulgare on California Native Plants

HUB 302-#86

Ecological restoration approaches that ameliorate soil conditions may be important for the recovery of native plant populations threatened by introduced species. Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), a non-native plant introduced to California, is a putative allelopathic plant; its release of chemicals in the soil may negatively affect neighboring plants. In a companion study, we found evidence that fennel has legacy effects, inhibiting seedling emergence and growth of California native plants after its removal. Thus, fennel’s widespread distribution throughout the state may have lasting impacts on native flora. The addition of activated carbon as a soil amendment could ameliorate these impacts. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that amending soil with activated carbon reduces the negative effects of fennel allelopathy. We grew California native plant species Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) and Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) in four treatments: soil with previous fennel growth (conditioned), conditioned soil with activated carbon, greenhouse soil with activated carbon, and a control greenhouse soil without carbon. All treatments were fertilized. We measured seedling emergence, plant height, and final root and shoot biomass. We found that, at the amount used, activated carbon addition had no impact on California native plants growth in conditioned soil, and may have improved emergence for yarrow. However, we did find additional support for edaphic legacy impacts of fennel on California poppy and common yarrow. Further investigations are needed to pinpoint the specific impacts of fennel on soil properties and to determine appropriate remediation approaches for restoration target areas impacted by fennel.