Healthy Native Soils Less Favorable To Invasive Plants

We found that background levels of soil N and an intact native soil microbial community are essential to the performance of two native prairie plant species, a grass and a forb, while an invasive forb is most successful under conditions of elevated soil nitrogen and when the native soil microbial community has been disrupted. While other studies have considered either the role of the soil microbial community or the effect of changes in soil fertility on the performance of native and exotic plants, our study is one of the few to evaluate the performance of natives and exotics in relation to both factors and under competitive conditions. This integrated approach allows us to more realistically assess the importance of biotic and abiotic soil factors and their interactions to plant performance and the success of exotic invaders. (Click on title for full story.)