Date of Award
Master of Science
Giant cane [Arundinaria gigantea (Walter) Muhl.] is a native bamboo species that was once widely distributed within bottomland forests and as extensive monotypic stands (canebrakes) along waterways of the southeastern United States. Land conversion to agriculture greatly decreased the distribution of canebrakes. Limited to less than two percent of its historic range, canebrakes are now considered an endangered ecosystem. A 0.24 hectare low maintenance experimental nursery of giant cane was established at Southern Illinois University to examine the effect of planting stock type, soil amendments, and four collection sources on cane survival and growth (number of culms, height and diameter of the tallest culm, spread between furthest two culms) after two growing seasons. All treatments, plus interactions of source by soil, and source by stock, were significantly affected by survival. Collection source significantly affected all growth measurements. Stock type affected the number of culms, height, and spread. Soil amendments did not significantly influence any growth measurement but affected soil chemical properties. The interactions between source and stock affected the number of culms, height, and spread. The interaction between stock and soil significantly affected spread, but no other interactions significantly affected any growth measurements. Of all treatment combinations, the Cypress Creek West source, when grown in containers, tended to have the greatest survival and overall growth after two years, regardless of soil amendments. This study highlights factors that are important in establishing a giant cane restoration nursery. This nursery will also generate growing stock for future canebrake restoration and rehabilitation projects.
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