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Germination and Emergence of Russian Wildrye Seeds Coated with Hydrophilic Materials

Berdahl, J. D., Barker, R. E.
Agronomy journal 1980 v.72 no.6 pp. 1006-1008
Psathyrostachys juncea, seed germination, seed dressings
Most forage grasses have a small caryopsis that must be seeded at shallow depths to emerge. However, soil surrounding the seed often becomes too dry to support germination and seedling development. Agar, alginic acid, carragheenan, ‘Super Slurper’, and ‘Viterra 2 Hydrogel’₃ were incorporated into silica seed coatings of Russian wildrye (Elymus junceus Fisch.) to increase the quantity of water available to the germinating seed and seedling. After 72 hours, water uptake from a saturated blotter averaged 4.3 mglseed for a silica coated check and ranged from 5.6 to 9.0 mglseed for the five hydrophilic coatings. At 14 days, seed germination was 95.5% for an uncoated check and ranged from 86.5 to 93.5y0 for the five hydrophilic coatings. Vermiculite was ground to pass a 1.0-mm screen, and water was mixed with the vermiculite to obtain matric potentials of −1, −5, −9, −10, −11, and −12 bars. None of the seed coatings increased the rate of emergence or increased the total emergence relative to the uncoated check within any of the six matric potentials. Failure of any of the five seed coatings to improve seedling emergence from vermiculite over a wide range of matric potentials suggested that hydrophilic coatings have little potential to improve stand establishment of Russian wildrye in the field.