Field seedling emergence of four african marigold (Tagetes erecta) breeding lines, A-975, E-1236, I-822, and `Orange Lady', was examined using three or four spring sowing dates and either osmotic or solid matrix priming. Delayed sowing decreased emergence time. Sowing from middle to late April [average soil temperatures 77.0 to 84.2 °F (25 to 29 °C)] resulted in the highest total emergence percentages. Greater fl ower quantities [4.9 to 5.1 million/acre (12.11 to 12.60 million/ha)] and estimated yield [7.5 to 10.8 tons/acre (16.81 to 24.20 t·ha-1)] indicate mid to late April is the optimum time period for direct sowing unprimed seed in the southern Great Plains. Differences between lines were evident in emergence parameters and fl ower harvest data for each year examined, but results were inconsistent from year to year. However, A-975 and E-1236 produced harvestable fl owers most quickly, about 15 d before I-822, which could result in an additional harvest during a season. Osmotic priming of E-1236 and I-822 seed shortened emergence time, increased emergence uniformity, and increased total emergence percentage at early sowing dates as compared to both solid matrix primed and unprimed seed.
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