Common groundsel is an alien annual weed that has become increasingly troublesome in many crops in Ohio. Understanding the periodicity of seedling emergence and longevity of seeds buried in the soil may help growers devise more efficient strategies to control common groundsel. Studies were conducted to determine the dormancy status of common groundsel seeds over 24 mo, and to describe the effect of tillage and fertilizer on the pattern of seedling emergence and the rate of depletion of seeds from the soil seed bank. Common groundsel seeds were collected (June 2000 and 2002) from sites along a 700-km transect from Kentucky to Michigan (39°1′ and 43°36′N, respectively). Seeds were cleaned and placed in nylon mesh bags for burial in a common garden. Every month for the following 24 mo, replicate bags from each location were exhumed. Germination was tested under alternating temperatures of 20 and 10 C, for 14 and 10 h day/night, respectively. Germination response at each sampling date was similar regardless of seed source, but differed for the 2000 to 2002 and 2002 to 2004 experiments. Laboratory germination of seeds buried was initially high (98%) and declined rapidly to about 20% by midwinter. Germination increased to about 60% during the second summer, followed by a slow decline to 40% during winter and another rapid decline before the third summer. The rapid declines in germination were preceded by low soil temperatures (<5 C) and the germination peaks corresponded with periods of high soil temperatures (∼ 20 C). Results suggested that common groundsel follows a cycle of dormancy and nondormancy corresponding to decreases and increases, respectively, in soil temperature. During 2 yr of deep burial in undisturbed soil, 94% of the seeds germinated or died, suggesting that common groundsel seeds may not persist more than a few months in regularly disturbed soils.
Nomenclature: Common groundsel, Senecio vulgaris L. SENVU