Invasive goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) influences soil microbial activities in forest and grassland ecosystems in Central Europe.
A giant goldenrod plant, Solidago gigantea, native to North America is rapidly spreading in Europe and may have serious impact on ecosystems that inhabit. There is a lack of information about the effects of this species on soil biochemical properties and distribution and activity of microbial community. We analyzed soil physicochemical properties (soil reaction, soil moisture content, organic carbon and total nitrogen content) associated with activity of microbial population (activity of fluorescein diacetate (FDA), beta-glucosidase, urease and phosphatases enzymes) between invaded and adjacent uninvaded control sites in two habitats, forest and grassland, in the lowland of southeast Slovakia during years 2016 and 2017. The results revealed that invasion of S. gigantea significantly altered several soil properties and is associated with different soil properties. Soil acidity increased, organic carbon and moisture content decreased, while total nitrogen content was not significantly affected by invasion. FDA and urease activity were significantly higher in uninvaded sites. In contrast, beta-glucosidase and alkaline phosphatase activity were enhanced by S. gigantea invasion in both ecosystems studied. Acid phosphatase was not affected by the invasion. Our study proved that S. gigantea can influence several soil microbial properties while others remained unaffected, despite its significant impact on basal soil physicochemical properties.