We examined the effects of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) leachates on germination of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal spores, colonization of plant roots by AM fungi and germination and root growth of monocot and dicot plants under laboratory conditions. In the field we examined the effect of garlic mustard on AM inoculum potential (MIP). Water leachates of garlic mustard prevented germination of spores of the AM fungus Gigaspora rosea, inhibited the formation of AM associations with tomato (Lycopesicum esculentum) and significantly reduced germination of tomato seeds. Garlic mustard leachates also reduced root length of tomato and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) seedlings. Under field conditions we found a significant negative correlation between the density of garlic mustard and the mycorrhizal inoculum potential of the soil in which the plants grew. These results suggest that garlic mustard may reduce the competitive abilities of native plants by interfering with the formation of mycorrhizal associations and root growth.
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Vol. 146 • No. 1