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    Author(s): Michael D. Cain; Michael G. Shelton
    Date: 2003
    Source: New Forests 26: 51-64, 2003.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (365 KB)


    Throughout the southeastern United States, Rhus and Rubus species are common associates of the southern pines on a wide array of upland site and stand conditions. Because of their ability to overrun disturbed sites, these species are categorized as competitors to pine during stand regeneration. Since prescribed burning is often used for site preparation in advance of pine regeneration, this study investigated the effect of fire on the germination of seeds from three pine competitors (Rubus argutus Link, Rhus copallina L., and Rhus glabra L.). During dormant-season burns, sumac seeds were located 45 cm above litter, within the F layer of a reconstructed forest floor, and at the interface of the forest floor and mineral soil. During growing-season burns, fresh blackberry fruits were placed at heights of 0, 15, 30, and 45 cm above the surface litter of a reconstructed forest floor. In subsequent germination tests, sumac seeds from within the F layer of burned litter had significantly higher germination rates for smooth sumac (31%) and shining sumac (42%) as compared to unburned control seeds (1-5%). In general, germination rates for sumac seeds placed in the air or on mineral soil during burning were no better than control seeds. Seeds from blackberry fruits that were located at heights of 15, 30, and 45 cm had germination rates that were comparable to unburned control seeds (18%), but seeds from fruits placed on the litter during burning had <1% germination. Results suggest that sumac seed germination may be enhanced by the heat from prescribed burning, whereas blackberry seeds showed more germination response to multiple germination cycles which indicated a potential for long-term storage in the soil seed bank.

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    Cain, Michael D.; Shelton, Michael G. 2003. Fire effects on germination of seeds from Rhus and Rubus: competitors to pine during natural regeneration. New Forests 26: 51-64, 2003.


    Blackberry, Dry heat, Moist heat, Shining sumac, Smooth sumac, Soil seed bank

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