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Waterhyacinths grown outdoors were treated with combinations of 0 or 22 kg ai ha-1 of the plant growth retardant paclobutrazol and 0, 25, or 250 waterhyacinth weevils per culture tank under conditions of low (25% coverage) or high (100% coverage) plant densities. The low plant density treatments simulated a regrowth or colonization situation. Weevil feeding activity, canopy height, plant volume, leaf production, and leaf mortality were monitored biweekly for 22 weeks or until all plants had died. In high plant densities, weevil infestations increased leaf mortality rates while decreasing production rates, causing eventual plant death. At low plant densities, waterhyacinth plants partially compensated for weevil feeding by increased leaf production rates, thus enabling them to survive until the end of the study. Paclobutrazol reduced canopy height for about 3 months but had little effect on weevil feeding intensities. Combinations of weevils and paclobutrazol gave complete control of waterhyacinths regardless of plant densities. The combined effects were synergistic, with accelerated leaf mortality rates exceeding production rates leading to early plant death. This study demonstrated the potential for increasing effectiveness of waterhyacinth weevils using integrated strategies.
Enhancement of the canker causing ability of Botryosphaeria ribis on melaleuca was studied with respect to stress from simulated drought, low temperature, and defoliation treatments. Low xylem water potential was related to increased level of canker development and subsequent tree mortality. Canker development was enhanced by low temperature treatments with alternating exposure to 6 C for 3 d followed by 4 d at 30 (±5) C for 8 wk. Partial defoliation did not affect canker development but complete defoliation of B. ribis-inoculated ramets resulted in tree mortality within 4 wk. Callusing of melaleuca wounds was either reduced or prevented in stressed trees. These observations suggest that stress induced on the tree enhances the tree-killing efficacy of this fungus.
A native fungus, Botryosphaeria ribis, was evaluated under field conditions to determine its potential to control melaleuca. Applications consisted of either wound inoculations of trees with B. ribis or fresh stump treatments with B. ribis alone or mixed with imazapyr herbicide. There was no mortality among nondefoliated trees inoculated with B. ribis. Mortality of B. ribis-inoculated trees was increased by three complete defoliation cycles. Defoliated trees inoculated with isolate BR-5 exhibited 100% mortality compared to 17% for defoliated but noninoculated trees. Wounds inoculated with B. ribis during winter produced longer cankers than did noninoculated wounds. Stump regrowth reduction by treatment with B. ribis alone was less effective than treatment with imazapyr alone. Mixtures of B. ribis with imazapyr or imazapyr alone at comparable concentrations did not differ in stump regrowth control.
Waterhyacinth [Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms] grown in screen-enclosed, outdoor aquaria were treated with factorial combinations of 0, 0.75, 1.5, or 3 kg/ha of the experimental growth retardant EL-509 [α-(4-chlorophenyl)-α-(1-methylethyl)-5-pyrimidine-methanol] and zero, one, two, or three pairs of waterhyacinth weevils (Neochetina eichhorniae Warner)/plant, with three replicates of each weevil-number by retardant level combination. When plant growth was evaluated over a time course, significant effects of weevils and retardant were observed. After 127 days, however, waterhyacinth was reduced as weevil numbers increased, but the growth retardant was ineffective without weevils. Weevils appeared to be more effective when used in combination with the retardant, and the combined effects were additive.
Invasive plants can respond to injury from natural enemies by altering the quantity and distribution of biomass among woody materials, foliage, fruits, and seeds. Melaleuca, an Australian tree that has naturalized in south Florida, has been reunited with two natural enemies: a weevil introduced during 1997 and a psyllid introduced during 2002. We hypothesized that herbivory from these and other adventive organisms (lobate-lac scale and a leaf-rust fungus) would alter the distribution and allocation of biomass on melaleuca trees. This hypothesis was tested by temporally assessing changes in aboveground biomass components in conjunction with the presence of natural enemies and their damage to melaleuca trees. Melaleuca trees of different diameters representing the range (1 to 33 cm diam at 1.3 m height) within study sites were harvested during 1996, prior to the introduction of herbivorous insects, and again during 2003 after extensive tree damage had become apparent. Aboveground biomass, partitioned into several components (woody structures, foliage, fruits, and seeds), was quantified both times in Broward, Miami–Dade, and Palm Beach county sites located in south Florida. The two harvests within each site were performed in closely-matched melaleuca stands, and changes in biomass components were compared between years. Total biomass and woody portions decreased in Broward, whereas they increased in Miami–Dade and Palm Beach sites. Reductions in foliage (on all trees) and seed biomass (among seed-bearing trees) were greatest at Broward and least at Miami–Dade County site. Hence, overall seed and foliage production was severely reduced at the Broward site where both the natural enemy incidence and damage were more abundant compared to other sites. We therefore attribute the reduced foliar biomass and reproductive capability of melaleuca trees to infestations of natural enemies. These findings highlight the role that natural enemies can play in the long-term management of invasive tree species.
Dioscorea bulbifera is a serious invader of various ecosystems in Florida, where plants generated by its two morphotypes climb aggressively and smother supporting vegetation. There is a dearth of published research on its invasive biological attributes including vine growth and biomass production by plants generated from bulbils. Herein, we assessed these parameters in common garden studies by planting bulbils from four biomass categories (PBBCs I–IV) of both morphotypes. Vine lengths, longevity-based growth rates (VLGR), biomass, and quantities of leaves and daughter bulbils in both morphotypes showed positive correlation with the biomass of planted parental bulbils. This indicated similarity between corresponding attributes in two morphotypes. Total vine length showed strong positive correlation with VLGR, biomass, and quantities of leaves and bulbils. Overall vine longevity among plants from PBBCs I–IV did not significantly differ whereas the total vine lengths, VLGRs, number of branches, and quantities of leaves and bulbils increased with the biomass of the parental bulbils. Plants recruited by smaller bulbils allocated more biomass to leaves and tubers compared to stems and bulbils, whereas the plants recruited by larger bulbils allocated more biomass to leaves and bulbils compared to tubers and stems. Higher proportion of biomass allocation to leaves and bulbils presumably ensures immediate faster growth, longer vines, and a greater number of daughter bulbils for future recruitment of new plants. Vine length (associated with faster growth rate, capable of blanketing supporting structures and producing large quantities of bulbils) has been noted as the primary invasive biological attribute that facilitates D. bulbifera's status as a noxious exotic weed in Florida. Control measure that can reduce vine length should reduce or eliminate the invasive behavior of D. bulbifera in Florida.
Earliest descriptions of Pistia stratiotes L. (Araceae) were by the ancient Egyptians and by the Greek philosophers Dioscorides and Theophrastus. This plant has also been mentioned by Plinius (Stoddard, 1989). According to Bogner and Nicolson (1991) P. stratiotes is the solitary member of the subfamily Pistioidea in Araceae. However, USDA (2008) places it in the subfamily Aroideae along with the numerous other genera. The many synonyms and obsolete subspecific names (Plantatlas, 2006) attest to the variability of this taxonomically isolated species, which is the only free-floating aroid. The plant is known as water lettuce; other common names are available in Randall (2002).
Pistia consists of a rosette of obovate to spatulate, velvety, light-green leaves (up to 40 cm long in African and American clones) (Fig. 17.1a, b), covered by short hairs, which trap air bubbles and thus enable buoyancy. The underside of leaves is densely hairy and almost white, with longitudinal ribs with embedded veins. The long feathery roots hang freely in the water. A clonal plant forms small colonies through stolons. Inflorescences are inconspicuous (7–12 × 5 mm) with short peduncles in the center of the rosette, growing on a stem. The spadix, enclosed in a whitish spathe, is pale green, hairy outside and glabrous inside. The spathe generally shows a constriction between the groups of male and the female flowers. The spathe below the constriction opens first in the morning hours to expose the wet stigma, whereas the male flowers remain enclosed.
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