Invasive shrubs have become increasingly prevalent in the deciduous forests of eastern North America – often creating a dense understory that outcompetes native plants. Many land managers would like to remove the invaders, but worry about what happens afterwards. Will they need to launch a costly remediation program to reestablish native plant communities?
A study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management provides important insights. Researchers manually removed 18 species of invasive shrubs from five plots in a mature, deciduous forest in the Eastern U.S. They cut the shrubs off at the base with hand clippers and treated foliage emerging from stumps and roots with herbicides. Any new seedlings were removed each spring.
Seven years after the initial removal, native plants had regenerated and filled the gap on their own – and they did so to a much greater extent than expected. Researchers found a significant increase in plant diversity and abundance among both native understory species and small trees.
Source: Study shows native plants regenerate on their own after invasive shrubs are removed