Arboretum Leaflets


Zedler, J.B. and J. Wilcox. 2005. Interconnected restoration challenges: controlling invasives and reestablishing natives. Arboretum Leaflet 1

A report on current work with reed canary grass in the Lower Greene Prairie of the UW-Madison Arboretum

Download (pdf - large file 7.2 MB)

Zedler, J.B. and M. Peach. 2005. Increasing wetland diversity: How one plant creates habitat for others. Arboretum Leaflet 2

A discussion of the ecology of tussock meadows and the multiple ways tussocks foster plant diversity. Based on a 2005 study involving 3 wetland sites in southern Wisconsin.

Download (pdf - large file 9.4 MB)

Zedler, J.B. and C. Frieswyk. 2005. Characterizing dominance: Which species are dominant and how do they dominate? Arboretum Leaflet 3

A discussion of what "dominance" means relative to plant species. Proposes a "species dominance index" which takes into account mean cover as well as suppression of other species.

Download (pdf - 1.2 MB)

Zedler, J. B. Adaptive restoration. 2005. Arboretum Leaflet 4

An explanation of "learning while restoring," an approach wherein restoration is undertaken as experiments, with each phase learning from earlier experiments and addressing new hypotheses about how best to restore degraded sites.

Download (pdf - 14.3 MB)

Zedler, J.B. Kercher, S.K. and A. Herr-Turoff. What accelerates reed canary grass invasions? 2005. Arboretum Leaflet 5

Results from a two-year experiment, with reed canary grass subjected to 27 treatments, showing strong interactions among flooding and nutrient loading and rapid shifts from diverse wet prairie to rcg monotypes.

Download (pdf - 2.2 MB)

Zedler, J.B. Opportunities for sedge meadow restoration at Gardener Marsh. 2005. Arboretum Leaflet 6

The fall 2005 Lab in Adaptive Restoration (Botany 670) focused on the need to combat invasive plants in Gardner Marsh and provided ideas for restoring its sedge meadows adaptively (as in Leaflet 4).

Download (pdf - 2.1 MB)

Zedler, J.B. 2006. How hydrologic manipulations can accelerate cattail invasions via "internal eutrophication". Arboretum Leaflet 7

It is possible that simply prolonging the period of standing water (as behind dams) stimulates enough release of phosphorus by soil to accelerate cattail invasions. This new scenario for wetland plant invasions is called "internal eutrophication."

Download (pdf - 1.6 MB)

Herr-Turoff, A. and J.B. Zedler. 2006. Does invasive reed canary grass retain more nitrogen than wet prairie vegetation? Arboretum Leaflet 8

Just because reed canary grass (RCG) outgrows most native plants doesn't mean it always takes up more nitrogen or is the best choice for "treatment wetlands." Herr-Turoff found no evidence that RCG was better at nitrogen removal than wet prairie vegetation (in mesocosms).

Download (pdf - 1.3 MB)

Hall, S., Peach M. and J.B. Zedler. 2006. Creating heterogeneous topography to restore sedge meadow diversity. Arboretum Leaflet 9

Nature is heterogeneous, but many restoration sites are graded smooth. We tested the idea that flat topography might slow sedge meadow development--we built small mounds and seeded native species to both mounded and flat plots. As hypothesized, the mounded plots supported more plant species. The project grew out of Michelle Peach's M.S. Thesis in Land Resources and Steve Hall's Senior Honors Thesis in Botany.

Download (pdf - 1.8 MB)

Zedler J.B. 2006. Why are wetlands so valuable? Arboretum Leaflet 10

May is wetlands month, a suitable time to explore their high value to humans. This leaflet draws on the estimates of Costanza et al. (1997) to quantify (in dollars) the annual renewable ecosystem services attributable to wetlands.

Download (pdf - 1.1 MB)

Zedler, J.B. and S.J. Hall. 2006. The March of Cattails Across Gardner Marsh. Arboretum Leaflet 11

Invasive cattails have expanded about 80 cm per year near the
Gardner Marsh boardwalk, according to analyses of historical air photos conducted by Frank Scarpace's students.

Download (pdf - 2.2 MB)

Zedler, J.B. and D. Liebl. 2006. Turning Stormwater Facilities into Amenities for Learning. Arboretum Leaflet 12


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Zedler J.B. 2007. Climate Change and Arboretum Wetlands. Arboretum Leaflet 13

While no one knows how climate change will affect Curtis
Prairie, insights can be gained by documenting the phenology (timingof events) of key species. In this leaflet, new data (Legner and Kolberg 2006) quantify the growing and flowering seasons of two native species and the invasive reed canary grass. The latter appears to have a clear advantage that could translate to even greater dominance with climate change.

Download (pdf - 1.0 MB)


Jelinski, Nic and N. Anderson. 2007. Diversity and Productivity of Faville Prairie. Arboretum Leaflet 14

This new study of a diverse prairie remnant contradicts theory that species-rich vegetation is more productive than less-diverse plant communities. Jelinski and Anderson found that aboveground productivity in the monotypic reed canary grass was about twice that of the native wet prairie.

Download (pdf - 2.6 MB)

Zedler, J. B., editor. The amazing diversity of root forms among native wetland plants.  Arboretum Leaflet 15

An ambitious experiment in summer 2007 compared the growth of 40 native wetland plants.  Many students took advantage of the project to produce class reports on the diversity of patterns of root and shoot growth (see the gallery of photos of washed roots).  In addition, the experiment tested the effect of adding topsoil to pots.
Most species produced more shoot biomass and less root biomass with topsoil added.  Thus, topsoil addition is not recommended for planting natives in stormwater channels where flowing water would wash away top-heavy plants.

Download (pdf - 4.5 MB)



Zedler, J.B., editor.  Curtis Praire: 75-year old restoration research site.  Arboretum Leaflet 16.

The Arboretum's Curtis Prairie is often revered for being restored nearly 75 years ago, but Leaflet 16 shows that it also has a long history of adaptive restoration--the testing of alternative approaches in field experiments and subsequent use of knowledge to improve restoration efforts. Research underway aims to document and solve contemporary problems with invasive plants (especially reed canary grass and gray dogwood).

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Carpenter, Q. and J. B. Zedler.  2008.  Demystifying Fens.  Arboretum Leaflet 17.

In Wisconsin, fens are considered special because this type of wetland is usually small but diverse in plant species.  Separating fens from sedge meadows and wet prairies can be tricky, however.  Our local expert, Dr. Quentin Carpenter, helps demystify this important type of  wetland ecosystem.

Download (pdf-1.75 MB)


Wegener, M. and J. B. Zedler.  2009.  Taking Stock.  Arboretum      Leaflet 18.

The Arboretum's "natural capital" includes a 1200-acre reserve in Madison that was set aside for ecosystem restoration, research and teaching, plus 11 outlying properties that serve as reference sites for restoration activities.  This compilation of maps and aerial photos illustrates the Madison core property as well as the challenge the Arboretum faces in restoring native communities in its urban setting.

Download (pdf - 2.23 MB)


   Arboretum 75th Anniversary Seminar


Zedler Lab Recent Publications
UW Madison Arboretum

Last updated: August 26, 2009

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