Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl., commonly called river cane, is a member of the grass family (Poaceae). The primary purpose of this research is to characterize the physical and chemical properties of the soils of existing stands of A. gigantea in western North Carolina and to provide guidance for the restoration of river cane to the stream valleys of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. We analyzed soils at 20 sites in Cherokee, Jackson, and Macon Counties in North Carolina and collected data on soil characterization, nutrient levels, bulk density, particle size, pH, and hydraulic conductivity. River cane soils varied significantly for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sand levels, even within the same watershed (ANOVA, p < 0.05). Typical soils are very sandy, mineral soils with low carbon levels and low nutrient levels. Soils are well drained, have very low bulk densities, and low pH. Despite low nutrient conditions, the plant does not appear to be nutrient limited. Restoration potential for the species is high, but more research is required to determine specific limitations on growth.
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Vol. 74 • No. 3