Understanding weed seedling emergence patterns is important for successful implementation of many weed management strategies. Identifying the sources of variation of emergence patterns could greatly improve our ability to predict emergence timing. Differences in seed dormancy levels between populations or biotypes are usually not considered when studying seedling emergence of many weed species despite evidence that dormancy levels can affect weed seedling emergence patterns. We studied the importance of seed dormancy on seedling emergence patterns of common waterhemp using three biotypes (Ames, Everly, and Ohio) that differed in dormancy regulation and level (5, 26, and 87% germination, respectively) and three tillage systems (no-tillage, chisel plow, and moldboard plow) in 2004 and 2005. Seedling emergence was at least four times greater under no-tillage than under chisel or moldboard plow conditions. Fewer seedlings emerged in moldboard plow than in other tillage systems. Furthermore, seedling emergence occurred in no-tillage over a longer period than in chisel and moldboard plow. In no-tillage the largest emergence events occurred at the end of June, whereas in other tillage systems most emergence occurred during May and the first week of June. Among biotypes, differences in number of emerged seedlings were more evident than differences in emergence timing. For Everly and Ohio biotypes, the number of emerged seedlings was the same between chisel and moldboard plow plots. For the Ames biotype, in 2004, the number of emerged seedlings was 25-fold higher in chisel plow than in moldboard plow, and the emergence pattern in no-tillage was longer and peaked later than in the other tillage systems. However, these results were not observed in 2005. Overall, we did not observe consistent differences in seedling emergence patterns among biotypes, which suggested that under field conditions, other factors can compensate for differences in seed dormancy levels.
Nomenclature: Common waterhemp, Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) Sauer.