A trial of fire and ice: experimental assessment of novel ecological restoration techniques in midwestern prairies invaded by Pyrus calleryana
Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is an invasive plant that threatens ecosystems across the American Midwest. Callery pear can disperse over long distances, grow rapidly, is tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, and outcompetes most native plants. Invasion of Callery pear into prairie ecosystems is a particularly difficult management challenge. The overarching objective of this project is to experimentally test control methods for this species to allow scientifically supported land management practices. In particular, I will test the efficacy of prescribed fire, cutting, herbicide and a novel treatment- freezing with liquid nitrogen. The idea of freezing as a treatment is untested in the scientific literature; however, may be an effective technique given that this species is cold sensitive and liquid nitrogen is inexpensive and relatively easy to apply. Shiloh Conservation Area is located near Dayton, Ohio, USA and is a recently restored prairie that was used for agriculture for over 50 years prior. We marked and measured the diameter of 100 Callery pear trees that were cut with a mower 1 year ago. These resprouting pear tree stumps were randomly assigned to one of five treatments: no treatment (negative control, n = 20), cut only (control, n = 20), experimental burning (n = 20), freezing (0.5 L of liquid nitrogen application, n = 20), and herbicide (50% glyphosate solution, n = 20). All treatments were applied in September of 2019. After 6 weeks, we evaluated which trees had begun resprouting. In March of 2020, we will re-measure which trees have begun resprouting. In fall 2020, almost 100% of the trees treated with fire began resprouting. 40% of the trees treated with liquid nitrogen began resprouting and none of the trees treated with herbicide resprouted. We will conduct this experiment again this spring and analyze results in fall of 2021.
Ryan W. McEwan
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Life On Land
"A trial of fire and ice: experimental assessment of novel ecological restoration techniques in midwestern prairies invaded by Pyrus calleryana" (2020). Stander Symposium Projects. 1775.