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• Theoretical and empirical research has supported the hypothesis that plant–plant interactions change from competition to facilitation with increasing abiotic stress. However, the consistency of such changes has been questioned in arid and semiarid ecosystems. • During a drought in the semiarid south-western USA, we used observations and a field experiment to examine the interactions between juveniles of a foundation tree (Pinyon pine, Pinus edulis ) and a common shrub (Apache plume, Fallugia paradoxa ) in replicated areas of high and low stress. • The presence of F. paradoxa reduced P. edulis performance at low-stress sites, but had the opposite effect at high-stress sites. However, the intensity of the...