• Emergence and root growth of three pregerminated cool-season grasses under salt and water stress

      Mueller, D. M.; Bowman, R. A. (Society for Range Management, 1989-11-01)
      Reclaiming salt-affected soils under semiarid conditions without irrigation is difficult. High salt concentrations both delay and decrease germination and emergence, which increases the time a soil must remain moist for germination and emergence to take place. Delayed germination can also affect a plant's capability to withstand summer drought because of limited root development. Cultural practices that encourage rapid growth at conditions suboptimal for germination should increase seedling emergence and reduce moisture requirements for emergence. We determined from greenhouse studies the effects of different levels of soil salinity and soil water on emergence and on root and shoot growth of 3 pregerminated cool-season grasses: 'Nordan' crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum) (L.) Gaertn.), 'Flintlock' western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) A. Love), and 'Vinall' Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea (Fischer) Nevski). Seed pregerminated prior to sowing resulted in more rapid emergence than untreated seed for all species at all levels of soil salinity and soil water. Salinity and water stress delayed and/or reduced emergence more in the untreated than pregerminated seed of Russian wildrye and western wheatgrass. Pregerminating seed before planting also resulted in greater root biomass for all species and greater root lengths for the 2 wheatgrass species than did untreated seed.