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Impact of Soil pH on Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) and Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) Competition

  • Candice M. Prince (a1), Gregory E. MacDonald (a2), Jason A. Ferrell (a2), Brent A. Sellers (a3) and Jingjing Wang (a4)...


Cogongrass is commonly found in disturbed areas in Florida, where it is increasingly becoming a problem in bahiagrass pastures. Soil pH has been suggested as a possible mechanism for this invasion; to evaluate this, replacement series competition studies were conducted under greenhouse conditions at two soil pH levels: pH 4.5, or pH 6.8. Cogongrass ramets and bahiagrass seedlings were planted at proportions of 0:40, 1:20, 2:10, 4:1, and 8:0, respectively. Aboveground biomass was measured after 8 weeks and used to calculate relative yield, relative crowding coefficients, and aggressivity values. At soil pH 4.5, the relative competitiveness of cogongrass and bahiagrass was similar, with both species contributing equally to relative yield. At soil pH 6.8, bahiagrass seedlings showed greater competitive ability than cogongrass ramets. Relative crowding coefficient and aggressivity values supported this, with bahiagrass showing increased competitiveness under higher soil pH. This indicates that decreases in soil pH, often associated with poor soil fertility, is likely a contributing factor for cogongrass invasion into bahiagrass pastures. Soil amendments to raise pH may provide a cultural management tool for cogongrass infestations in pastures.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Candice M. Prince, Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611. (E-mail:


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