Restoring a Mediterranean-climate shrub community with perennial species reduces future invasion.
Successful restoration of an invaded landscape to a diverse, invasion-resistant native plant community requires determining the optimal native species mix to add to the landscape. We manipulated native seed mix (annuals, perennials, or a combination of the two), while controlling the growth of non-native species to test the hypothesis that altering native species composition can influence native establishment and subsequent non-native invasion. Initial survival of native annuals and perennials was higher when seeded in separate mixes than when combined, and competition between the native perennials and annuals led to lower perennial cover in year 2 of mixed-seeded plots. The plots with the highest perennial cover had the highest resistance to invasion by Brassica nigra. To clarify interactions among different functional groups of natives and B. nigra, we measured competitive interactions in pots. We grew one native annual, one native perennial, and B. nigra alone or with different competitors and measured biomass after 12 weeks. Brassica nigra was the strongest competitor, limiting the growth of all native species, and was not impacted by competition with native annuals or perennial seedlings. Results from the potted plant experiment demonstrated the strong negative influence of B. nigra on native seedlings. Older native perennials were the strongest competitors against invasive species in the field, yet perennial seedling survival was limited by competition with native annuals and B. nigra. Management action that maximizes perennial growth in early years may lead to a relatively more successful restoration and the establishment of an invasion-resistant community.