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Environmental control of dormancy in weed seed banks in soil

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Dormancy is a common attribute of many weed seed populations and this usually hampers the task of predicting timing and extent of emergence of weeds. Both the number of established plants and the timing of emergence of a weed are strongly related to the dynamics of dormancy release of the seed population. In this paper, we discuss the different factors that affect dormancy in weed seed banks in soil, aiming to set a conceptual basis that will facilitate the construction of predictive models. From the long list of factors that are known to control dormancy under field conditions, we distinguish those that modify the dormancy level of the population (i.e. soil temperature and soil hydric conditions) from those that terminate dormancy or in other words, remove the ultimate constraints for seed germination once the degree of dormancy is sufficiently low (i.e. light, fluctuating temperatures, nitrate concentration). We also discuss the effect of agricultural practices on dormancy of weed seed populations, making reference to studies that have evinced clearly the factor(s) involved in determining a particular pattern of response. Overall, we stress the importance of clarifying, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the interaction between soil thermal and hydric conditions in the modification of the degree of dormancy of seed populations. Similarly, it is essential that we understand the extent to which such changes in dormancy comprise changes in sensitivity to factors that terminate dormancy.
Benech-Arnold, R.L. , Sanchez, R.A. , Forcella, F. , Kruk, B.C. , Ghersa, C.M.
In the special issue: Plant phenology and the management of crop-weed interactions / edited by C.M. Ghersa. Paper presented at a workshop held October 13-15, 1997, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Field crops research July 1, 2000. v. 67 (2)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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