Annual emergence and seed persistence of common waterhemp, velvetleaf, woolly cupgrass, and giant foxtail were characterized in central Iowa for 4 yr following burial of seeds collected and buried in autumn 1994. First-year emergence as a percentage of the original seed bank ranged from 5 to 40%, and the relative order was common waterhemp < velvetleaf < giant foxtail < woolly cupgrass. During the second and third years, there were no differences in percent emergence among species, with emergence percentages ranging from 1 to 9% of the original seed bank. During the fourth year, seedlings continued to emerge from only the velvetleaf and common waterhemp seed banks. A greater percentage of common waterhemp seed persisted each year and 12% of the original seed was recovered after 4 yr of burial. Five percent of the velvetleaf was recovered at the end of the fourth year. No woolly cupgrass and giant foxtail seed was recovered after the third and fourth years. The proportion of the seed that was accounted for from year to year through emergence and seed recovery varied by species and year. Total recovery of velvetleaf ranged from 61 to 87%, common waterhemp from 50 to 81%, woolly cupgrass from 29 to 79%, and giant foxtail from 23 to 79%. Based on the results of this research, velvetleaf and common waterhemp form more persistent seed banks than woolly cupgrass and giant foxtail. Therefore, woolly cupgrass and giant foxtail should be more amenable to management through seed bank depletion than velvetleaf and common waterhemp.
Nomenclature: Common waterhemp, Amaranthus rudis Sauer AMATA; giant foxtail, Setaria faberi Herrm. SETFA; velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medik. ABUTH; woolly cupgrass, Eriochloa villosa (Thunb.) Kunth ERBVI.