Implications of green manure amendments on soil seed bank dynamics

Nicolyn Short

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    256 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] Weeds are a major limitation to agricultural and horticultural production and the main method of control is the use of herbicides. In addition to the resulting chemical pollution of the environment, the wide spread and continues use of herbicides have resulted in many weeds developing resistance to commonly used herbicides. This study investigated the potential of using green manures as a cultural method of control of weed invasion in agricultural fields. To understand the general mechanisms involved in the suppression of seed germination in green manure amended soils, seeds of crop species with little or no dormancy requirements were used in certain studies. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds were sown to a sandy soil amended with green manures of lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), Brassica juncea, or oats (Avena sativa) to determine if the amendments affected seed germination and/or decay. It was hypothesised that the addition of plant material would increase the microbial activity of the soil thereby increasing seed decay, under laboratory and greenhouse conditions. Initial experiments used lettuce, cress and lupin seeds. Lettuce and cress are commonly used as standard test species for seed viability studies. Subsequent experiments used seeds of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum), silver grass (Vulpia bromoides), wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) and wild oat (Avena fatua) as these weed species are commonly found throughout agricultural regions in Western Australia. Amending the soil with lupin or Brassica green manure was established as treatments capable of developing environments suppressive to seed germination. Lupin residues as green manure showed the strongest inhibition of seed germination and seed decay. The decay of certain seeds was enhanced with changes to soil microbial activity, dissolved organic carbon and carbon and nitrogen amounts in lupin amended soil. Seeds of weed species were decayed in lupin amended soil, but showed varied degree of decay. Annual ryegrass and silver grass were severely decayed and wild oat and wild radish were less decayed, in lupin amended soil.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2006

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