The introduced tree Sapium sebiferum (Euphorbiaceae) is considered a serious threat to the preservation of the coastal prairie region of Louisiana and Texas, although it is currently uncommon in the western part of the region. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential effects of location, soils, and available moisture on the growth and survival of S. sebiferum in coastal prairie. In a field experiment, S. sebiferum mortality was significantly greater at a western site than at central and eastern sites. The greatest mortality and least growth of surviving plants occurred on a soil from the western region, regardless of site. A greenhouse study also found that S. sebiferum growth was lowest on the western soil. Watering frequency significantly affected S. sebiferum growth, except on the western soil. Sapium sebiferum growth responded to both nitrogen and phosphorum additions for all soils. Soil analyses revealed the highest sand, sodium, and phosphorus contents, and much higher electrical conductivity in the western soil. It is concluded that the soil examined from the western region is unfavorable for S. sebiferum growth, though not to the extent to preclude S. sebiferum completely. Evidence suggests that soil salinity may be the primary cause of the poor S. sebiferum growth at the western site.
Additional publication details
Growth and invasive potential of Sapium sebiferum (Euphorbiaceae) within the coastal prairie region: the effects of soil and moisture regime