Burning hot! The effects of fire and soil space on eastern redcedars, Juniperus virginiana
One of the most effective ways to control invasive species is by burning. Unfortunately, this strategy causes potential damage to property, and may not be entirely effective. We examined the effectiveness of burning on the redistribution of nutrients in eastern redcedars, Juniperus virginiana, a native invasive species in Ohio. We hypothesized that burned trees will re-allocate their nutrients for storage and will have higher concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates and nitrogen belowground than aboveground. Furthermore, plants frequently contain a higher biomass when grown with a larger amount of soil. Consequently, we hypothesize that trees planted in larger pots with more soil will contain more nutrients and a higher biomass than trees that are planted in smaller pots. We found that control group trees contained a higher overall biomass than burned cedars (p = 0.026). Likewise, trees grown in large pots contained more nutrients than those grown in small pots (p < 0.001). Surprisingly, there was no difference in the amount of nutrients between the burned and control trees. In conclusion, we found that fire decreases the overall biomass of eastern redcedars but does not affect their nutrient re-allocation. Furthermore, trees planted in larger pots contain more nutrients than those in smaller pots.