June 16, 2021
June 8, 2021
University of Nebraska researchers Chengchou Han and Stephen L. Young have published their article “Root Growth of Two Perennial Grass Types and Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) in Temperate Grasslands of North America” in the July/August edition mof Invasive Plant and Science Management.
The article details their 2 year study using the CI-600 In-Situ Root Imager and free RootSnap! analysis software which make up our minirhizotron system, to analyze root growth patterns in native and invasive plant species. The team was able to study the entire life cycle of subject species by installing CI-600 tubes into study plots prior to planting, and taking monthly images of root development. The team studied root images using RootSnap! to trace and record root development. The study sheds light on how the problem of invasive species may be dependent on root distribution patterns, and the importance of environmental disturbances (e.g., drought), which may lead to the successful or failed establishment of roots.
The researchers concluded that land managers that have problems with musk thistle or an invasive plant species with similar life history (e.g., Scotch thistle, bull thistle) should consider (1) using a mix of perennial grass types and (2) not stressing grassland plants by overgrazing, especially during extreme drought conditions, as the native species root systems are vulnerable to invasion under such stresses.
To view the abstract for the IPSM article click here. The full article may be viewed by subscribers; non-subscribers may purchase the article for a fee. For more information on the CI-600 and RootSnap! click here.