The influence of mowing regime on the soil seed bank of the invasive plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.

Citation: Milakovic I, Karrer G (2016) The influence of mowing regime on the soil seed bank of the invasive plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. NeoBiota 28: 39-49. doi: 10.3897/neobiota.28.6838

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Abstract: Ambrosia artemisiifolia is an invasive annual herb infamous for the high allergenicity of its pollen, which is related to increasing medical costs. Additionally, it can cause serious yield losses as agricultural weed. Common ragweed seeds accumulate in the soil and can remain therein viable for decades, which poses a problem for the sustainable management of these populations. A long term management should thus target a reduction of the soil seed bank. We observed the influence of four different mowing regimes on the ragweed soil seed bank at six roadside populations in eastern Austria. The mowing regimes were based on methods from common roadside management practice and specifically adapted to reduce seed production. After three years of application, the soil seed bank was indeed reduced by 45 to 80 percent through three of the four mowing regimes tested. Therefore, we suggest that the best mowing regime for the most effective reduction of the size of the soil seed bank is the one consisting of one cut just after the beginning of female flowering (around the 3rd week of August in Eastern Central Europe), followed by a second cut 2–3 weeks later.