Evaluation - Demonstration Sites

Lake Worth

This demonstration site rests on an eight-acre parcel in a residential area near the town of Lake Worth, Florida. Historically, the first land owner dug a pond and piled the excavated soil to the north of the standing water. The soil is primarily sand with a small proportion of organic matter. Table 1 contains additional information on soil qualities and chemistry.

Over time, melaleuca invaded the pond area, with the largest trees occurring on the mounded soil. Melaleuca now covers nearly an acre at a density of approximately 0.8 trees per m2 (or about 3,359 trees per acre). Current tree sizes, when measured at breast height (dbh = 1.3 m), range from 0.1 to 61.3 cm (0.04 to 24.1 inches), with an average diameter of 8.7 cm (3.4 inches). The size distribution of these trees appears in Table 2.

Although melaleuca dominates the area, there are 49 other plant species occurring at the demonstration site. Nearly half of these plants are exotic in origin and include some of the most invasive species in South Florida, including Acacia auriculiformis, Ardisia elliptica, Casuarina equisetifolia, Cupaniopsis anacardioides, Lygodium microphyllum, and Schinus terebinthifolius. However, there was a nearly equal proportion of native plant species at the site, which, after removing the exotics, might facilitate re-vegetation. Table 3 contains a complete list of plant species.

Four different approaches are featured at the Lake Worth site:

  • using large machinery
  • felling trees and treating the stumps
  • felling the trees and allowing the biological control agents to control regrowth from the stumps
  • biological control

You can find a detailed description of these approaches on the Lake Worth Demonstration Site page. We monitor the efficacy of these approaches by delineating multiple plots in each treatment area and measuring over time the melaleuca mortality, recruitment, and changes in plant species composition.