Differences in the depth of weed seedling recruitment due to agronomic management practices, such as reduced tillage, have implications for weed competitive ability and management strategies. Depth of seedling recruitment of Avena fatua, Triticum aestivum, Setaria viridis, Polygonum convolvulus, and Echinochloa crus-galli was measured in situ in 1997 and 1998 prior to seeding (preseeding) and before in-crop spraying (prespray) in a total of 44 zero-tillage and 44 conventional-tillage fields located across approximately 3 million ha of southern Manitoba, Canada. For the monocot species, depth of recruitment was measured from the soil surface to the intact seed coats, which marked the point of germination. For P. convolvulus, a dicot, greenhouse studies were conducted prior to sampling in the field to identify a reliable morphological marker indicating the point of germination. For all species, mean recruitment depth was found to be significantly shallower in zero- vs. conventional-tillage fields and significantly shallower in the preseeding vs. the prespray period. There were relatively few differences in mean recruitment depth among weed species. Within a sampling period and tillage system, for example, the greatest difference in mean recruitment depth between species was less than 1.2 cm, and the maximum mean recruitment depth across species, sampling times, and tillage practice was very shallow (less than 4.2 cm). Locating weed seedling recruitment depth is the first step in characterizing weed seedling recruitment microsites. Results indicate this information should be specific to tillage and sampling time.
Nomenclature: Avena fatua L. AVEFA, wild oat; Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv. SETVI, green foxtail; Triticum aestivum L. TRZAS, wheat; Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv. ECHCG, barnyardgrass; Polygonum convolvulus L. POLCO, wild buckwheat.