Elevated nitrogen deposition may advance invasive weed, Solidago canadensis, in calcareous soils.
Aims: Change in nitrogen (N) availability regulates phosphorus (P) acquisition and potentially alters the competition among native species and invasive weeds. This study determines how current and projected N deposition affect the growth, the intraspecific and interspecific competitive ability of native and invasive plants in calcareous soils with low P availability. Methods: A controlled greenhouse experiment was conducted using sparingly soluble hydroxyapatite (HAP) to simulate the calcareous soils with low P availability. The growth and competitive intensity between an invasive weed (Solidago canadensis) and a native weed (Pterocypsela laciniata) exposed to two levels of N addition representative of current and future N deposition in China were experimentally determined. Important Findings: P acquisition and the growth of both S. canadensis and P. laciniata growing alone significantly increased with increasing N level. However, the effect of N addition was reduced when intraspecific or interspecific competition existed. N addition altered the competitive relationship between S. canadensis and P. laciniata allowing S. canadensis to out-compete P. laciniata due to variation in P acquisition from HAP. Elevated N deposition might assist the invasion of S. canadensis in the widely distributed calcareous soils under environmental changes.