Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2017
Studies suggest that disturbance-induced reductions in soil seedbank density are diminished by periods of water scarcity after soil disturbance; however, this hypothesis has yet to be tested. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the effects of increasing time between soil disturbance and flood irrigation on disturbance-induced reductions in soil seedbank density, and (2) to identify specific soil moisture levels that cause seedbank reductions under flood irrigation. Weed species in this study were junglerice, Palmer amaranth, and yellow foxtail. For Objective 1, artificial seedbanks with known numbers of seeds were disturbed 10, 3, or 0 d prior to flood irrigations under field conditions. For Objective 2, seeds were buried in soil mesocosms that were hydrated to specific soil water potentials (flooded, 0 kPa, −30 kPa, −60 kPa, and −180 kPa) and placed in laboratory conditions favorable for germination. For both objectives, seeds were recovered to determine the percentages of buried seeds that survived the disturbance or moisture treatments. Results for the field study indicated that soil disturbances reduced seedbank persistence of Palmer amaranth but did not affect seedbank persistence of junglerice and yellow foxtail. Disturbance-induced reductions in seedbank density were greatest when soil was disturbed 0 and 3 d prior to flood irrigations. For the laboratory study, results showed that waterlogged soil was not required for seedbank losses because rates of seedbank persistence were greater in saturated soils (0 kPa and flooded) compared to the lower moisture levels. These studies indicate that delays in irrigation can reduce the seedbank reduction potentials of soil disturbance events. Further, irrigation timing effects on disturbed soil seedbanks are likely to occur in all irrigation systems, including those that reduce the amount of water applied compared to flood irrigation.
Associate editor for this paper: William Vencill, University of Georgia
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