332-2 Shifting the Balance From An Invasive Exotic Grass to a Native Perennial Forage Grass in a Fallow Citrus Grove.
Poster Number 1101
A challenge to establishing native species is the presence of highly competitive, non-native species. Para grass (Urochloa mutica (Forssk.) TQ Nguyen) is a category I (FLEPPC) invasive grass that often dominates disturbed sites in south Florida and forms monotypic stands. In this study, we used an eight acre old citrus grove dominated by para grass to examine management treatments that could be used to aid the establishment of maidencane and shift competitive advantage to the native grass. We examined the performance of maidencane in an experiment manipulating grazing and competition. Herbicides are not an option for controlling para grass when maidencane is present. Ten weeks after planting, competition with para grass was not suppressing the growth of maidencane. This study will inform strategies for maximizing performance of a native species in the presence of an invasive grass. Grazing in the early growing season is being applied to examine whether this will tip the balance in favor of maidencane as the wet season begins.