Ammophila arenaria is a dominant sand-fixing plant species of the European coastal foredunes. It remains vigorous under regular burial conditions on seaward slopes, but starts to degenerate when sand accumulation diminishes. Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain this degeneration. In this study, we test the hypothesis that upward growth of plants following sand burial enables them to escape harmful soil organisms. Plants in a degenerating field stand of A. arenaria and potted plants grown in sterilized sand (outdoor pot experiment) were buried with sterilized or nonsterilized sand. Burial in both sterilized and nonsterilized sand resulted in stem elongation, increased numbers of living shoots, and increased shoot and root biomass. However, when plants were grown in and buried with sterilized sand, the numbers of shoots were significantly higher than those buried with nonsterilized sand. The new root zone of buried plants was colonized by pathogenic soil organisms (nematodes and fungi) during the same growing season. It is concluded that by upward growth through pathogen-free sand, the plants benefit, at least temporarily, from escaping its pathogens and parasites. [KEYWORDS: Clonal growth; upward growth; migration; soil-borne disease; growth reduction Harmful soil organisms; hippophae-rhamnoides l; growth;breviligulata; succession; ecology]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1150
JournalCanadian Journal of Botany-Revue Canadienne De Botanique
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ID: 196165