The role of soil temperature and seed dormancy in the creation and maintenance of persistent seed banks of Nassella trichotoma (serrated tussock) on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales

Annemieke Ruttledge, Ralph D.B. Whalley, Gregory Falzon, David Backhouse, Brian M. Sindel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A large and persistent soil seed bank characterises many important grass weeds, including Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Hack. ex Arechav. (serrated tussock), a major weed in Australia and other countries. In the present study we examined the effects of constant and alternating temperatures in regulating primary and secondary dormancy and the creation and maintenance of its soil seed bank in northern NSW, Australia. One-month-old seeds were stored at 4, 25°C, 40/10°C and 40°C, in a laboratory, and germination tests were conducted every two weeks. Few seeds germinated following storage at 4°C, compared with seeds stored at 25°C, 40/10°C and 40°C. Nylon bags containing freshly harvested seeds were buried among N. trichotoma stands in early summer, and germination tests conducted following exhumation after each season over the next 12 months. Seeds buried over summer and summer plus autumn had higher germination than seeds buried over summer plus autumn plus winter, but germination increased again in the subsequent spring. Seeds stored for zero, three, six and 12 months at laboratory temperatures were placed on a thermogradient plate with 81 temperature combinations, followed by incubation at constant 25°C of un-germinated seeds. Constant high or low temperatures prolonged primary dormancy or induced secondary dormancy whereas alternating temperatures tended to break dormancy. Few temperature combinations resulted in more than 80% germination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalRangeland Journal
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • After-Ripening
  • Dormancy Cycling
  • Environmental Sensing
  • Seed Burial

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