Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2005
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Establishment of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) in pastures is seriously impaired by the poor vigor and growth of seedlings. Casler and Undersander (xxxx-xxxx) practiced selection for improved establishment capacity in five low-alkaloid reed canarygrass cultivars, selecting plants that survived intensive weed competition during the establishment year. They improved establishment in all five cultivars to an extent that it could be measured both at the end of the seeding year and the beginning of the next growing season. They discovered that different mechanisms were responsible for the genetic improvements in establishment capacity of the five cultivars. These results will be valuable for livestock producers who wish to establish reed canarygrass pastures.
Technical Abstract: Establishment of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is seriously impaired by relatively low seeding vigor and growth rate. This problem is exacerbated by poor soil-seed contact after seeding, intense competition from annual weeds, and infrequent clipping during the establishment year. The objectives of this study were (1) to select reed canarygrass plants and populations for establishment capacity in the presence of annual weeds, (2) to evaluate progeny for progress from selection, and (3) to determine mechanisms for improved establishment potential in selected populations. Two cycles of selection for survival under clipping and weed competition were completed, the first involving spaced plants and the second involving plots seeded at extremely low seeding rates to simulate poor seeding conditions. Selection for increased establishment capacity increased ground cover in October of the seeding year and tiller density in May of the following year in all five cultivars, averaging a 28.8% increase in ground cover and a 36.5% increase in tiller density. Seed mass consistently decreased with selection for increased establishment capacity, but emergence rate increased in all cultivars, by an average of 18.1%. Three of the five cultivars (Palaton, Vantage, and Venture) responded to selection with increased shoot and/or root fresh weight, with shoot-weight responses generally larger than root-weight responses. Thus, some of the improvements in establishment capacity were due to increased seedling vigor.