The effects of ethylene upon germination of common cocklebur (Xanthium pensylvanicum Wallr.) and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) seeds were studied. In laboratory tests with seeds in sealed flasks in the dark, 10 μl/L ethylene increased germination of redroot pigweed seeds from 7% to 52% at 30 C, and increased germination of large and small common cocklebur seeds from 30% and 0% to 100% and 90% respectively, at 25 C. At least 12 h of exposure to ethylene was necessary for appreciable stimulation of germination. In growth chamber studies with known numbers of seeds in pots of soil, ethylene at 11 kg/ha was injected into the soil, and the pots were enclosed in plastic bags for 24 h. One such injection at 2 weeks after planting, and successive injections at 2, 3, and 4 weeks, significantly increased redroot pigweed seedling emergence, and significantly decreased the numbers of dormant, viable seeds remaining in the soil. When pots were not enclosed, injections did not significantly effect redroot pigweed seeds, but significantly increased common cocklebur seedling emergence and decreased the number of viable common cocklebur seeds remaining in the soil.