Skip to Main Content

The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Rivercane response to light conditions
Year: 2010
Author(s): Russell, D., Neal, D., Jolley, R., Rushing, B., Baldwin, B.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 20
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Arundinaria gigantea is the native woody evergreen grass commonly known as rivercane, and has been in rapid decline since the European colonization of North America. Canebreaks were once plentiful throughout the forests and bottomlands of the Southeast and provided wildlife habitat, erosion control, and buffers for sensitive ecosystems. Considering the extensive decline of their former range, plant establishment is now a primary focus. Five light regimes were tested on seedling plants to determine optimal light requirement for maximize growth as measured by total biomass accumulation. A randomized complete block design was conducted in the field. Shade structures were constructed to reduce sunlight by 0, 30, 50, 60, and 85% of ambient. All structures were removed at arboreal leaf senescence in autumn and replaced during spring leafing. Plant Growth Index (PGI), a non-destructive indicator of growth, was used to access growth during the first year; and biomass accumulation was used to measure actual plant growth. PGI indicated maximum plant canopy was achieved under 50-60% light reduction. After two years growth, plants were sacrificed. Biomass dry weight indicated a different optima; maximum growth occurred with 0% light reduction. Results indicate seedling plants compensate by increasing leaf canopy up to 50‐60% light reduction, amplifying PGI. However, biomass accumulation indicates PGI is not a suitable measure of actual plant growth. These data would seem to indicate that rivercane is not an understory species, but persists there.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper