In the managed forest of temperate Europe, black cherry (Prunus serotina) is one of the most important invader species. Among the ecological traits enabling its expansion in forest stands, the role of chemical compounds released naturally by this plant into the environment still remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of black cherry leaf litter on the germination and growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seedlings. Laboratory bioassays with extracts from newly fallen and decomposed leaves showed a phytotoxic effect on root elongation and a slightly weaker negative effect on stem growth of pine shoots. The inhibitory effect increased with the gradient of leaf extract concentration. Furthermore, a significant negative correlation was observed between condensed tannin content in decomposed leaf litter of the black cherry and the pine root growth. The results are discussed in the context of black cherry litter properties which could interfere with natural regeneration of pine forests.
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Vol. 67 • No. 2