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Effects of Kudzu (Pueraria montana) Solarization on the Chemistry of an Upper Piedmont South Carolina Soil

Adams, Nicole E.1; Mikhailova, Elena A.1; Schlautman, Mark A.2; Bridges, William C.3; Newton, Casey H.1; Nelson, Larry R.1; Post, Christopher J.1; Hall, Karen C.1; Cox, S. Knight1; Layton, Patricia A.1; Guynn, David C.1

doi: 10.1097/SS.0b013e3181ce5a5e
Technical Article

Soil solarization has been shown previously to be effective for eradicating kudzu (Pueraria montana) from small and/or environmentally sensitive infested areas. However, the potential effects of different kudzu solarization levels on soil fertility have not been reported. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether different solarization treatments used to eradicate kudzu during two growing seasons would lead to different soil chemistry conditions, particularly those related to soil fertility, at different soil depths. The study was conducted on an Upper Piedmont Cecil soil in replicated test plots that had been infested previously with kudzu and received varying levels of solarization from 2005 to 2007. A statistical model was developed to analyze the soil data based on the original randomized complete block design used for the solarization tests, and analysis of variance was used to determine if there were significant main effects or interactions between the two experimental factors (solarization level and soil depth). Fisher's protected least significant difference test was used to determine if significant differences occurred among specific pairs of means. Among the different solarization levels, some differences were observed for parameters related to the soil macronutrients carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) at different soil depths. In general, the two less intensive solarization treatments proved better at enhancing or preserving levels of C, N, and P in the soil and resulted in lower nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) concentrations. All three solarization treatments resulted in lower Na and Ca and higher K and Mn concentrations relative to controls. Taken together, it can be concluded that a less intensive level of solarization is optimal for both eradicating kudzu and preserving or enhancing soil fertility.

1Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634. Dr. Elena Mikhailova is corresponding author. E-mail:

2Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Clemson University, Anderson, SC.

3Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, Clemson, SC.

Received July 17, 2009.

Accepted for publication December 7, 2009.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.