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Open AccessArticle

Soil Moisture, Grass Production and Mesquite Resprout Architecture Following Mesquite Above-Ground Mortality

1
Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Vernon, TX 76384, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(9), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091243
Received: 17 July 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecohydrology of Woodlands and Savannas)
Honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) is an invasive native woody plant in the southern Great Plains, USA. Treatments used to slow the invasion rate have either killed the plant (“root-kill”) or killed above-ground tissue (“top-kill”). Top-killing provides temporary suppression, but stimulates multi-stemmed regrowth. This study from north central Texas quantified soil moisture, grass production and mesquite resprout architecture following a mechanical clearing treatment that top-killed mesquite (cleared) compared to untreated mesquite woodland (woodland) over a 10-year period. During an extreme drought at 5 and 6 years post-clearing, soil moisture at 60-cm depth became lower in cleared than in woodland, suggesting that, as early as 5 years after top-kill, water use by regrowth mesquite could be greater than that by woodland mesquite. Perennial grass production was greater in cleared treatments than in woodland treatments in all years except the extreme drought years. Mesquite regrowth biomass increased numerically each year and was independent of annual precipitation with one exception. During the year 5 and 6 drought, mesquite stopped lateral expansion of larger stems and increased growth of smaller stems and twigs. In summary, top-killing mesquite generated short-term benefits of increased grass production, but regrowth created potentially negative consequences related to soil moisture. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; brush management; coppice; drought; leaf area index; relative growth rate; resprouting; Texas; woody plant encroachment; woody plant growth biomass; brush management; coppice; drought; leaf area index; relative growth rate; resprouting; Texas; woody plant encroachment; woody plant growth
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ansley, R.J.; Zhang, T.; Cooper, C. Soil Moisture, Grass Production and Mesquite Resprout Architecture Following Mesquite Above-Ground Mortality. Water 2018, 10, 1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091243

AMA Style

Ansley RJ, Zhang T, Cooper C. Soil Moisture, Grass Production and Mesquite Resprout Architecture Following Mesquite Above-Ground Mortality. Water. 2018; 10(9):1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091243

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ansley, R. J.; Zhang, Tian; Cooper, Caitlyn. 2018. "Soil Moisture, Grass Production and Mesquite Resprout Architecture Following Mesquite Above-Ground Mortality" Water 10, no. 9: 1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091243

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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