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The role of fluctuations in soil water content on the regulation of dormancy changes in buried seeds of Polygonum aviculare L.

  • Diego Batlla (a1) and Roberto Luis Benech-Arnold (a1)

Abstract

It has been hypothesized that fluctuations in soil water content may affect the dormancy status of weed seed banks under field conditions. In this paper, we present results showing that fluctuations in soil water content affect the dormancy status of buried seeds of Polygonum aviculare L. stored at dormancy-releasing temperatures. Effects of fluctuations in soil water content on the dormancy status of P. aviculare seeds were evaluated by comparing changes in the range of temperatures and water potentials permissive for germination, and in the sensitivity to fluctuating temperatures, between seeds subjected to a moist soil regime (MS) or to a fluctuating soil water content regime (FS). In comparison to the dormancy release pattern observed for seeds subjected to MS, seeds subjected to FS generally showed an increase in their dormancy level after periods of storage under dry soil conditions, and a decrease in their dormancy level after periods of storage under moist soil conditions. These effects were more pronounced during early stages of the storage period, producing larger changes in the thermal and water potential range for seed germination than in the sensitivity of seeds to fluctuating temperatures. Seeds subjected to FS generally exhibited a lower mean low-limit temperature, lower mean thermal time and hydrotime requirements for germination, and a higher proportion of the seed population with the capacity to germinate in situ, than seeds subjected to MS. The results obtained suggested that fluctuations in soil water content could be an additional factor affecting dormancy and weed emergence patterns under field conditions.

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*Correspondence: Fax: +54 11 4524 8039/8053 (ext. 33), Email: batlla@agro.uba.ar

References

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