As wildfires become more frequent and severe in the United States, effective post-fire intervention is increasingly important for soil and plant conservation. Erosion control is often necessary after wildfire, but methods vary in effectiveness and impacts on vegetation. Little is known about the effects of hydroseed, an erosion control product, on post-fire plant recovery trajectories. Hydroseed was applied to control erosion of sandy soils after the 2011 wildfire in the Lost Pines region of Texas. Pre-fire, the region was dominated by loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), an obligate-seeder, and resprouting oak species, including sand post oak (Quercus margaretta). We investigated the effects of hydroseed and burn severity on pine and oak recovery in Bastrop State Park, within the Lost Pines. Forty-six permanent plots were surveyed 1999–2015; hydroseed was applied to 15 plots post-fire. Hydroseed inhibited P. taeda regeneration in the first post-fire year but had no subsequent effect on P. taeda seedling numbers, and no effect on Q. margaretta resprout numbers in any year. P. taeda seedling numbers were greatest in lower burn severity plots in the first post-fire year and increased following high rain in 2015. Q. margaretta resprout numbers were greatest in higher burn severity plots in the first post-fire year only. Our results suggest that hydroseed may reduce initial post-fire pine recruitment but is unlikely to permanently alter long-term woody plant community recovery in this region; burn severity may be a more important factor. Further research is warranted to examine the effects of hydroseed on herbaceous plant communities.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2