Research Publication Title

Impact of the Removal of Pueraria montana on Soil Characteristics in Central Georgia

Major

Biology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Christine Mutiti, Gretchen Ionta, Allison VandeVoort

Keywords

Kudzu, soil, Georgia, removal, nitrogen

Abstract

Impact of the Removal of Pueraria montana on Soil Characteristics in Central Georgia Sara Carey The roots of the invasive plant Pueraria montana, common name kudzu, form nodules that house nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the genus Rhizobium. These bacteria convert nitrogen from its inorganic form to a bioavailable form, nearly doubling the concentration of useable nitrogen in the topsoil; thus, kudzu can have both direct and indirect effects on soil chemistry and ecosystem function by decreasing local plant growth and inputting high levels of nitrates into groundwater systems. We investigated the effects of kudzu removal on soil properties, focusing on changes in nutrient concentration over a twelve-month period. Three treatment sites containing kudzu were demarcated at the Oconee River Greenway in Milledgeville, Georgia. Two plots were established in each site and kudzu was removed from one of the plots, while the second plot remained undisturbed. Three kudzu-free plots were established in a nearby site as controls. Monthly soil samples were collected from each plot, and divided in top and subsoil layers. Soils were analyzed seasonally for nitrification potential at Georgia College. Basic soil analysis and nitrate tests were conducted by the Clemson University Agricultural Services Laboratory. Preliminary findings show significantly higher nutrient concentrations in the topsoil of all plots, and higher nutrient levels in soils impacted by kudzu. Calcium showed a negative correlation to nitrate concentrations; phosphorus and magnesium were positively correlated with nitrates, while zinc and potassium have shown increases after reductions in nitrates. All plots had soils with clay texture, except for both plots in Areas 1 and 2 which were sandy clay. Nitrification took place in each season, with the highest rate in Fall. This study provides valuable insight into the potential impacts of kudzu removal from invaded sites on subsequent soil composition, with implications for future management of this important pest species in the southeastern United States and throughout its range.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Impact of the Removal of Pueraria montana on Soil Characteristics in Central Georgia

Impact of the Removal of Pueraria montana on Soil Characteristics in Central Georgia Sara Carey The roots of the invasive plant Pueraria montana, common name kudzu, form nodules that house nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the genus Rhizobium. These bacteria convert nitrogen from its inorganic form to a bioavailable form, nearly doubling the concentration of useable nitrogen in the topsoil; thus, kudzu can have both direct and indirect effects on soil chemistry and ecosystem function by decreasing local plant growth and inputting high levels of nitrates into groundwater systems. We investigated the effects of kudzu removal on soil properties, focusing on changes in nutrient concentration over a twelve-month period. Three treatment sites containing kudzu were demarcated at the Oconee River Greenway in Milledgeville, Georgia. Two plots were established in each site and kudzu was removed from one of the plots, while the second plot remained undisturbed. Three kudzu-free plots were established in a nearby site as controls. Monthly soil samples were collected from each plot, and divided in top and subsoil layers. Soils were analyzed seasonally for nitrification potential at Georgia College. Basic soil analysis and nitrate tests were conducted by the Clemson University Agricultural Services Laboratory. Preliminary findings show significantly higher nutrient concentrations in the topsoil of all plots, and higher nutrient levels in soils impacted by kudzu. Calcium showed a negative correlation to nitrate concentrations; phosphorus and magnesium were positively correlated with nitrates, while zinc and potassium have shown increases after reductions in nitrates. All plots had soils with clay texture, except for both plots in Areas 1 and 2 which were sandy clay. Nitrification took place in each season, with the highest rate in Fall. This study provides valuable insight into the potential impacts of kudzu removal from invaded sites on subsequent soil composition, with implications for future management of this important pest species in the southeastern United States and throughout its range.