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Title: The development of multi-layer herbaceous plant communities for use in urban parks and green spaces
Author: Ahmad, Hanim
ISNI:       0000 0001 3400 4374
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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The aims of this study were to develop practices to develop robust multi-layer plant communities for use in urban parks and green spaces. Such communities can provide a strong impact on the lay public through flowers which bloom in spring, summer and autumn. Potentially, these kinds of communities display. a spring flowering, a late spring/early summer, and an autumn component. Such herbaceous plant communities have many attributes such as being potentially easier to manage, more resistant to weed invasion, providing greater diversity and providing a dramatic visual impact over a longer period. Plant community development is affected by many factors but competition with other species for light, water and nutrients are particularly important. A series of experiments have been undertaken to work out how to develop multiple layer herbaceous plant communities in urban parks and green spaces. These commenced with seed germination studies in response to different chilling treatments, seedling , survival at different sowing ratios and species mixtures, and productivity across soil gradients. A microcosm experiment was conducted to explore the actual competitive relationships between different canopy layers sown in a wide range of ratios. The survivorship of different canopy layer species in 2006 and/or 2007 as a percentage of the number of seedlings in the 2005 data was significantly different (P=0.006, Kruskal-Wallis test) within the canopy layers, with the medium canopy layer showing the highest survivorship (81.35%), followed by tall (76.65%) and low (62.73%) canopy layers. The growth of different canopy layer plants in 2006 and/or 2007 as a percentage of those present in the 2005 data was significantly different (P=0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test) between the canopy layers with the tall canopy layers showing the highest percentage increase in biomass than the medium and low canopy layer. To assess the practicality of creating multi-layers by field sowing, a large scale field experiment was conducted. Seed ratios and species mixture for creating multi-layer communities at two different productivities was studied. Many species showed a greater emergence on sand mulch than on clay subsoil mulch. At the end of the first growing season, many Helenium, Phlox, Rudbeckia, Silphium plus some individuals of Aster, Echinacea, Eupatorium, Helianthus and Silene were flowering in the treatment mixes. In terms of their survival and growth performance during the first two years of growth, most of the multi-layer plant communities showed more positive results on sand mulch when compared to clay subsoil mulch treatment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available