PeerJ. 2022 Oct 31;10:e14269. doi: 10.7717/peerj.14269. eCollection 2022.
Inland saline marshes in northeastern China have unique soil characteristics and population distribution features. Hydrological change is a critical environmental factor causing wetland degradation and soil salinization in this region. The growth and reproductive responses of typical wetland plants to dry-wet alternations are essential for restoring inland saline marshes. A pot experiment was conducted to study the growth and reproductive responses of Phragmites australis populations to three hydrological treatments simulating drought degradation (drought), permanent inundation restoration (flooding), and seasonal inundation restoration (dry-wet). The species showed different growth and reproductive responses to the three treatments. After 120 d, the drought conditions induced a lower biomass, root length and root surface area of P. australis, but with higher root diameter, soluble sugar, and Na+ ion contents. Flooding and alternating dry-wet treatments induced the opposite responses. Alternating dry-wet treatments can be considered a better solution to effectively conserve water and meet the water needs of P. australis in the current growing season. The biomass under the alternating wet and dry treatment was the same as that under flooding, but the number of rhizome shoots was lower. The alternating dry-wet treatments was able to recover the growth of P. australis in the current season, but the potential for asexual reproduction of the species was insufficient.