Gibberellic Acid and Presowing Chilling Increase Seed Germination of Indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash.]

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

Following dry storage for 5 or 11 months (new and old seeds, respectively) at 5 °C, less than 10% of the seeds of Indiangrass germinated as determined by a standard germination test. We attempted to increase germination by subjecting seeds to dormancy-breaking treatments, including sodium hypochlorite soak (5.25% v/v NaOCl; 20 or 60 min), prechilling (5 °C for 2 weeks), gibberellic acid during germination (GA3, 1000 mg·L-1), and combinations thereof. Treatment with NaOCl increased the germination of non-prechilled seeds only when they were germinated in GA3; a 60-min soak in NaOCl increased germination to 53% and 65% in new and old seeds, respectively. Prechilling increased germination to 65% and 47% in new and old seeds, respectively. Germination of new, prechilled seeds was increased further to 86% by either a 20-min soak in NaOCl or germination in GA3. Germination of old, prechilled seeds was not promoted further by treatment with NaOCl, but was increased to 67% by germination in GA3. Since NaOCl treatment alone failed to promote germination, we examined the effects on seedling emergence and growth of providing GA3 at 1000 mg·L-1 during the 2-week prechilling period. While prechilling alone increased emergence to an average 34% for new and old seeds, prechilling with GA3 increased emergence to 75% and 50% for new and old seeds, respectively. These treatments did not influence seedling shoot dry mass. Seed exposure to GA3 during rather than after prechilling was more effective in promoting Indiangrass establishment.