Litter dynamics and phenology of Melaleuca quinquenervia in south Florida

Van, T.K. and Rayachhetry, M.B. and Center, T.D. and Pratt, P.D. (2002) Litter dynamics and phenology of Melaleuca quinquenervia in south Florida. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management, 40, pp. 22-27.

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We monitored litterfall biomass at six different sites of melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake) forested wetlands in South Florida from July 1997 to June 1999. Annual litterfall of melaleuca varied between sites from 6.5 to 9.9 t dry wt ha(-1) yr(1) over the two-year period. Litterfall was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in scasonally flooded habitats (9.3 t ha(-1) yr(1)) than in non-flooded (7.5 t ha(-1) yr(1)) and permanently flooded habitats (8.0 t ha(-1) yr(1)). Leaf fall was the major component forming 70% of the total litter, woody material 16%, and reproductive material 11%. Phenology of flowering and leaf flush was investigated by examination of the timing and duration of the fall of different plant parts in the litter traps, coupled with monthly field observations during the two-year study. In both years, flowering began in October and November, with peak flowers production around December, and was essentially completed by February and March. New shoot growth began in mid winter after peak flowering, and extended into the spring. Very little new growth was observed in melaleuca forests during the summer months, from May to August, in South Florida. In contrast, the fall of leaves and small wood was recorded in every month of the year, but generally increased during the dry season with higher levels observed from February to April. Also, no seasonality was recorded in the fall of seed capsules, which apparently resulted from the continual self-thinning of small branches and twigs inside the forest stand. In planning management for perennial weeds, it is important to determine the period during its annual growth cycle when the plant is most susceptible to control measures. These phenological data suggest that the appropriate time for melaleuca control in South Florida might be during late winter and early spring, when the plant is most active.

Item Type: Article
Title: Litter dynamics and phenology of Melaleuca quinquenervia in south Florida
Personal Creator/Author:
Van, T.K.
Rayachhetry, M.B.
Center, T.D.
Pratt, P.D.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Aquatic Plant Management
Volume: 40
Page Range: pp. 22-27
Date: 2002
Issuing Agency: Aquatic Plant Management Society, Inc.
Uncontrolled Keywords: litterfall; biomass; productivity; biological control; Melaleuca; paperbark tree.
Subjects: Management
Item ID: 1749
Depositing User: Sciences Librarian Peter Fritzler
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2008 23:22
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 20:10

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