Vegetative filter strips have been adopted as a common best management practice to manage soil erosion and nutrient losses from cultivated fields. New species and combinations of species are constantly being assessed based on their riparian function. A unique species that is native to southern Illinois and the southeast is giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea). Giant cane's performance as an effective filter of sediment and nutrients from surface and subsurface flows has been recently documented; however, it can be difficult to establish in riparian zones. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate a new approach for restoring giant cane in riparian buffer zones and methods that provide quick protection of critical source areas in the field. This study focused on developing a low-cost method for giant cane restoration designed to give reproductive propagules an advantage in assembling a successful canebrake while protecting critical areas bordering agricultural fields and streams/ditches. To achieve this goal, three types of sandbags (polypropylene, treated burlap, and nontreated burlap) were used as growing containers for giant cane rhizomes. Additionally, two soil mixtures and a fertilizer treatment were assessed for their influence on cane emergence, survival, and growth. Results showed that the nontreated burlap/mixed soil-media/no-fertilizer combination provided the best growing environment for newly established giant cane rhizomes. This combination provided sufficient soil moisture and bag permeability to cane. Overall, a 90% success rate for emergence, and 30% survival rate over the growing season was observed using nontreated burlap/mixed soil-media/no-fertilizer.
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Vol. 83 • No. 2