Downy brome seed bank dynamics in southwestern Saskatchewan
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In order to study downy brome seed bank dynamics, a burial experiment was established near Maple Creek in August 1987. Downy brome seed was buried at four depths (2.5 to 20 cm), and placed on the soil surface, in nylon mesh bags. Seed was exhumed at monthly intervals in the fall of 1987 and throughout the 1988 growing season. Seed germination in the field in the fall of 1987 was greatest from the buried seed (almost 50 %) while the surface seed exhibited little germination. This germination occurred in response to fall precipitation. Seed on the soil surface was not in contact with moist soil for a sufficient time to stimulate germination, so 80-90 % of this seed had not germinated by freeze-up in 1987. However the surface collected seed had germination of 34 % when transferred to an incubator in the laboratory, indicating environmentally induced dormancy in the field. There was little recruitment from the seed bank occurred in the spring of 1988 in spite of favorable moisture and temperature conditions. Seed on the soil surface remained viable until the 14th month but the buried seed at all depths had either germinated or deteriorated by the 9th month. This study was repeated in 1988, with similar results to date.
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