Florida is the nation's second leading state in lawn care services with annual $5 billion impact and 84,000 jobs per year (Hodges and Mulkey, 2003). There are several warm-season turfgrasses established from seeds, including bahiagrass, bermudagrass, and centipedegrass (Trenholm et al., 2001). Bahiagrass is a low-maintenance turfgrass that is tolerant to salt and drought. Bermudagrass is a medium-maintenance lawngrass that is widely used as sports turf. Centipedegrass is a low-maintenance grass that is common on lawns, especially in northern Florida (Table 1).
Sources, uses, and cultivars of three warm-season turfgrass species used for seed germination, matriconditioning, and aging studies in Tallahassee, FL.
Establishing a successful lawn requires good seed quality and subsequent seedling emergence (Trenholm et al., 2001). It has been shown that seed enhancements improve the performance of seeds as a result of increased synthesis of seed hormones and enzymes (Taylor et al., 1998). For example, matriconditioning (MC), or priming seeds through solid carriers with low matric potentials, proved highly effective in improving germination of several vegetable seeds by allowing limited water to start the major metabolic events in seeds (Khan, 1992). MicroCel E (synthetic calcium silicate; World Minerals, Lompoc, CA) has been reported as a superb solid carrier for MC (Khan, 1992; Taylor et al., 1998). Khan et al. (1992) reported increased germination percentage (GP) and emergence of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), carrot (Daucus carota), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and pepper (Capsicum annuum) when seeds were matriconditioned by MicroCel E only or combined with GA3. It has been reported that germination decreased with storage (Taylor et al., 1998). Furthermore, priming may accelerate the effect of seed aging. For example, primed lettuce (Lactuca sativa) seeds aged faster than control seeds under 45 °C with 50% relative humidity (RH) conditions (Hacisalihoglu et al., 1999) or 40 °C with 10% RH (Tarquis and Bradford, 1992).
Few studies have been conducted on the enhancement of turfgrass seeds, and even fewer have tested MC as well as storage of turfgrass seeds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of MC on warm-season turfgrass GP and mean germination time under optimum, 7- or 14-d accelerated aging conditions.
Hacisalihoglu, G., Taylor, A.G., Paine, D.H., Hilderbrand, D.B. & Khan, A.A. 1999 Embryo elongation and germination rates as sensitive indicators of lettuce seed quality HortScience 34 1240 1243
Hodges, A.W. and W.D. Mulkey. 2003. Economic impacts of agricultural and natural resource industries in Florida. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Electronic Data Information Source Document FE627
Khan, A.A., Maguire, J.D., Abawi, G.S. & Ilyas, S. 1992 Matriconditioning of vegetable seeds to improve stand establishment in early field plantings J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 117 41 47
Pill, W.G., Frett, J.J. & Williams, I.H. 1997 Matric priming of kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue seeds benefits seedling emergence HortScience 32 1061 1063
Tarquis, A.M. & Bradford, K.J. 1992 Prehydration and priming treatments that advance germination also increase the rate of deterioration of lettuce seeds J. Expt. Bot. 43 307 317
Tiryaki, I. 2006 Priming and storage of amaranth seeds: Effects of plant growth regulators on germination percentage at low temperature Seed Sci. Technol. 34 169 179
Trenholm, L.E., J.B. Unruh, and J.L. Cisar. 2001. Selecting a turfgrass for Florida lawns. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Electronic Data Information Source Document ENH04