Studies of soil seedbanks in native and sown pastures in Northern New South Wales

  • Lodge G
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Abstract

Total and germinable soil seedbanks (litter and soil) were studied for a native pasture and three sown pastures (dominated by Phalaris aquatica L. cv. Sirosa) in northern New South Wales from 1993 to 1996. Soil core samples were taken from continuously grazed plots for both pasture types and two oversown treatments in the native pasture and from a spring-autumn rest treatment at the sown pasture sites. At each site above ground herbage mass was also estimated regularly as part of the Temperate Pasture Sustainability Key Program. For all sites and treatments, the proportion of germinable seeds as a percentage of the total (dormant and germinable) seedbank ranged from 1-26% for the native pasture and 1-39% for the sown pastures. Germinable seed numbers ranged from 280 to 26,110 seeds per in, while total seedbank numbers were from 6700 to 178,360 seeds per m(2). Native pasture herbage mass was dominated by native perennial grasses, but seeds of these species were less than 20% of the total seed bank in all treatments in 1994 and 1995. At the sown pasture sites, most of the germinable (51-92%) and total (65-97%) seedbanks were either barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beaux, annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaudin), subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) or wireweed (Polygonum aviculare L.). Since seeds of annuals and other forbs generally dominated both the total and germinable seedbanks of these perennial grass-based pastures, these species were likely to increase over time, Seeds of the sown perennial grass Phalaris aquatica L, cv. Sirosa were less than 1% or the total seedbanks in pastures sown in 1990 and less than 3% of those sown in 1979, With above average summer rainfall at the native pasture site in 1996 and prolific growth of redgrass, seeds of this species were 38-63% of the total and 11-29% of the germinable seedbank in May 1996. Except at this site and time, the species composition of the total and germinable seedbanks did not generally reflect the dominance of the above ground herbage mass of these pastures by perennial grasses.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Germinable seedbank
  • Phalaris
  • Redgrass
  • Total seedbank

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Authors

  • G. M. Lodge

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