Wiregrass and other herbaceous species' response to herbicide and fire treatments
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The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem was once dominant within the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States, but it is now reduced to a fraction of its original area. Today, there is a resurgence of interest in the restoration of the longleaf pine-wiregrass (Aristida stricta Michx. and A. beyrichiana Trin. & Rupr.) ecosystem. My objective was to examine the effects of the herbicides, hexazinone (Velpar L) and imazapyr (Chopper), with and without fire, on the regeneration of wiregrass and associated herbaceous plant species typical of the understory of longleaf pine savannas. I hypothesized that treatments would differ in their effect on groundcover vegetation, that the combination of fire and herbicide would better control competition from hardwood species and promote regeneration of wiregrass and associated herbaceous vegetation. Longleaf pine seedling survival and Quercus species frequency of occurrence was greater in hexazinone treatments. Species diversity did not differ among treatments in October 2006.