An effective management plan for invasive herb populations must consider the potential for regeneration from the soil seedbank. To test this potential, we examined two species, Japanese stiltgrass and garlic mustard, at deciduous forest sites in southeastern Ohio. Seeds were buried in nylon mesh bags and recovered at regular intervals over 24 mo. Recovered seeds were tested for germination and viability. Burial was replicated on north- and south-facing slopes to test for environmental control of dormancy state. Stiltgrass seeds experienced severe mortality in the soil, rarely surviving the full 24 mo. Stiltgrass showed fractional germination in the lab ranging from 86% to 89% of viable seeds in late spring (the season of natural seedling emergence) to complete nongermination in winter. Most garlic mustard seeds survived through the experimental period (82% and 88% survival across 24 mo) with consistently low mortality (0% to 13%) unrelated to season. Slope aspect had no significant effect on survival or dormancy state in either species. Extrapolation of garlic mustard mortality implies that reproduction would need to be suppressed for a substantial period (perhaps >10 yr) to ensure eradication of a population. In stiltgrass, rapid seed mortality suggests that control can be achieved in 2 to 4 yr.
Nomenclature: Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara and Grande; Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum (Trin) A. Camus.