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weed seed maturation

When the mature seeds exhibit a prolonged dormant period, the seeds harvested in an immature state exhibit a similar period of dormancy.

Certain plants within the family Compositae wher cut lown in the flowering condition produce viable seeds; others do not. The first group includes: Sonchus oleraceus, Senecio Jacobaea, S. vulgaris and Aster Tripolium, whilst the second group includes: Taraxcum vulgare, Hypochaeris radicata, Cirsium arvense and C. lanceolatum.

Certain species in other families produce viable seeds when cut down at various stages of maturation of the fruits following fertilization.

In Papaver dubium and Datura stramonium, the immature seed germinated more readily than the fully ripened seed, owing to the impermeability of the seed coat of the latter.

A combination of fluctuating temperature and illumination improved the germination of the two Rumex species when tested soon after harvesting, but had no effect on other species found difficult to germinate in an incubator at constant temperature. Three months after harvesting of the Rumex species the seeds germinated equally well in the incubator at constant temperature.

Weeds that exist with crops early in the season are less detrimental than weeds that compete with the crop later in the growing season, and this principle has supported the timely use of weed management practices (Wyse, 1992). Either early- or late-emerging weeds produce great proportions of viable seeds that can remain in the soil profiles for a long time period, contributing to the perpetuation and the success of weeds (Cavers and Benoit, 1989). As a result, in most arable crop systems, weed management strategies focus mainly on reducing weed density in the early stages of crop growth (Zimdahl, 1988). However, confining weed management to a narrow temporal window increases the risk of unsatisfactory weed management due to unfavorable weather (Gunsolus and Buhler, 1999). Weed seed banks are the primary source of persistent weed infestations in agricultural fields (Cousens and Mortimer, 1995) and if their deposits are increased, greater herbicide doses are required to control weeds afterwards (Taylor and Hartzler R, 2000). Annual weed species increase their populations via seed production exclusively (Steinmann and Klingebiel, 2004), whereas seed production is also important for the spread of perennials (Blumenthal and Jordan, 2001).

Important parameters that influence weed seeds' germination and seedlings' emergence can also affect the efficacy of false seedbed as weed management practice. These parameters consist of environmental factors such as soil temperature, soil water potential, exposure to light, fluctuating temperatures, nitrates concentration, soil pH, and the gaseous environment of the soil. Soil temperature and soil water potential can exert a great influence on composition of the weed flora of a cultivated area. Base soil temperatures and base water potential for germination vary among different weed species and their values can possibly be used to predict which weeds will emerge in a field as well as the timing of emergence. Predicting the main flush of weeds in the field could maximize the efficacy of false seedbed technique as weed management practice. Timing, depth, and type of tillage are important factors affecting weed emergence and, subsequently, the efficacy of false seedbed. The importance of shallow tillage as a weed control method in the false seedbed technique has been highlighted. Further research is needed to understand and explain all the factors that can affect weed emergence so as to maximize the effectiveness of eco-friendly weed management practices such as false seedbed in different soils and under various climatic conditions.

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There is evidence showing that other environmental factors, such as nitrates and gases, can also regulate seed bank dormancy (Bewley and Black, 1982; Benech-Arnold et al., 2000). For instance, germination of Sysimbrium offcinale (L.) Scop. is dependent on the simultaneous presence of light and nitrates (Hilhorst and Karssen, 1988), while in the case of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., nitrates modify light-induced germination to some degree (Derkx and Karssen, 1994). The seeds of summer annual species, S.officinale, showed increased sensitivity to nitrates and lost dormancy during the winter season (Hilhorst, 1990). Regarding the winter annual S. arvensis, Goudey et al. (1988) recorded maximal germination frequencies when NO 3 – content ranged from 0.3 to 4.4 nmol seed −1 for applied NO 3 – concentrations between 2.5 and 20 mol m −3 . In the same study germination was significantly lower in seeds containing more than 5 nmol NO 3 – . Although the mechanisms by which nitrates stimulate dormancy loss remain under investigation, they maybe act somewhere at the cell membrane environment (Karssen and Hilhorst, 1992). The evaluation of the effects of nitrates in regulating weed seeds' germination and weed emergence is an area of interest for weed scientists and research needs to be carried out to get a better knowledge regarding this issue. There is also evidence that the range of pH values can promote germination of important weed species. For instance, Pierce et al. (1999) noticed that seed germination of D. sanguinalis decreased with increasing pH when soil was amended with MgCO3, whereas maximum root dry weights occurred at ranges from pH 5.3–5.8. A pH range of 5–10 did not influence seed germination of E. indica (Chauhan and Johnson, 2008). Cyperus esculentus (L.) germination rate at pH 3 was 14% as compared to 47% at pH 7, while germination of Sida spinosa (L.) was highest at pH 9 (Singh and Singh, 2009). In the experiment by (Lu et al., 2006) Eupatorium adenophorum (Spreng.) germinated in a narrow range of pH (5–7) whereas other researchers recorded a 19–36% germination rate for Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist. over a pH range from 4 to 10 (Nandula et al., 2006). As a consequence, another area available for research is the role of soil pH on seed germination and weed emergence especially in fields where false seedbed technique has been planned to be applied.