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Keywords:

  • fluridone;
  • germination;
  • Lolium rigidum;
  • seed dormancy

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Problem weeds in agriculture, such as Lolium rigidum Gaud., owe some of their success to their large and dormant seed banks, which permit germination throughout a crop-growing season. Dormant weed seed banks could be greatly depleted by application of a chemical that stimulates early-season germination and then kills the young seedlings. Fluridone, a phytoene desaturase-inhibiting herbicide that can also break seed dormancy, was assessed for its efficacy in this regard.

RESULTS

The germination of fluridone-treated Lolium rigidum seeds was stimulated on soils with low organic matter, and almost 100% seedling mortality was observed, while the treatment was only moderately effective on a high-organic-matter potting mix. Seedlings from wheat, canola, common bean and chickpea seeds sown on fluridone-treated sandy loam were bleached and did not survive, but lupins and field peas grew normally.

CONCLUSION

This proof-of-concept study with fluridone suggests that it may be possible to design safe and effective molecules that act as germination stimulants plus herbicides in a range of crop and soil types: a potentially novel way of utilising herbicides to stimulate seed bank germination and a valuable addition to an integrated weed management system. [[ArtCopyrightmsg]]