Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Compost Maturity Influence on Weed Seed Germination

in HortScience
Authors:
Monica Ozores-Hampton1Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. P.O. Box 5127 Immokalee, FL 33934-9716

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Thomas A. Bewick2Horticultural Science Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

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Peter Stoffella2Horticultural Science Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

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Daniel J. Cantliffe2Horticultural Science Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

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Thomas A. Obreza1Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. P.O. Box 5127 Immokalee, FL 33934-9716

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The influence of compost (derived from MSW and biosolids) maturity on seed germination of several weed species was evaluated. A bioassay was developed by extracting 20 g of compost of different maturities with various volumes of water, then measuring germination percentage of ivyleaf morningglory (Ipomoea hederacea) seeds placed on extract-saturated filter paper in a petri dish. A 20 g (dry weight) compost: 50 mL of water generated an extract that produced the widest percentage seed germination variation in response to composts of different maturity. Ivyleaf morningglory, barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli L.), purslane (Potulaca oleracea L.), and corn (Zea mays L) were selected as plant indicators to determine the compost maturity stage with maximum germination inhibition. Compost 8-week-old decreased percent germination, root growth, and germination index (combines germination rate and root growth), and increased mean days to germination (MDG) of each plant indicator. Immature 8 week-old compost extract effect on MDG and germination percent of 15 weed species was evaluated. Extract from 8-week-old compost inhibited germination in most weed species, except yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus). Compost extracts derided from immature (3-day, 4-, and 8-week-old) compost resulted in delayed and reduced germination percent of important economic weed species.

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