Higher tolerance to abiotic stresses and soil types may accelerate common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) invasion.
Common ragweed is a troublesome allergenic invader and noxious weed of several crops. Despite extensive research to understand the factors affecting its invasion, the role of environmental stresses and soil types on survival and growth is poorly understood. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of drought, salinity, and soil types on survival, growth, and nutrient uptake of ragweed in greenhouse experiments to predict its invasiveness in Turkey. Three separate experiments, with five drought intensities (100, 75, 50, 25, and 12.5% of field capacity [FC]), four levels of salinity (0, 3, 6, and 12 dS m-1), and five soil types varying in sand, silt, and clay content were performed. Severe drought and salinity levels reduced seedling survival, while soil type had no effect. Increasing drought and salinity negatively affected growth and nutrient uptake; the poorest growth was observed under severe drought intensity. Ragweed exhibited intensive tolerance to drought, even severe levels, while it tolerated salinity up to 6 dS m-1 for seedling survival. Growth was negatively affected above 3 dS m-1. The highest and lowest nutrient accumulations were recorded under moderate and extreme drought intensities, respectively. Similarly, the highest Na accumulation was observed under extreme saline conditions, whereas the highest P uptake and K/Na ratio were achieved under nonsaline conditions (0 dS m-1). Variation of soil texture had no effect on growth and nutrient uptake. The highest Ca, Mg, and Na accumulations were recorded on clay soil, while higher P accrued on sandyloam soil. Increased tolerance of ragweed to severe drought and moderate salinity and its nonselective nature for soil type indicate that semiarid and partially arid regions in Turkey have plenty of vacant niches for ragweed invasion.