Blackgrass is a common winter annual grass weed in autumn-sown crop rotations in Atlantic European countries. Control with a minimum amount of herbicides in integrated cropping systems would be facilitated by modeling the effect of cropping systems on its demography. To develop the submodel relating weed seed bank to emerged seedlings, laboratory experiments were conducted to analyze and quantify seed germination and shoot elongation. These processes were studied as a function of environmental conditions during seed production (nitrogen availability, water deficit, plant density, and crop) and of seed characteristics (seed weight, harvest date, storage length, and dry-stored/soil-buried). Nonlinear equations relating germination and shoot elongation to time calculated as cumulated degree-days were fitted to the observed germination and shoot elongation data. These were used to estimate parameters for germination proportion and rate, as well as final shoot length and elongation rate. Recently harvested seeds germinated best and fastest when they were collected in spring crops compared with winter crops. Germination proportion and rate increased with seed storage length, especially for seeds collected in winter crops. Midgermination time decreased with seed weight and water deficit during seed production; it increased with nitrogen amounts available to the mother plants. Maximum shoot length increased with seed weight and plant density during seed production. It decreased with nitrogen availability to mother plants and with storage length, irrespective of whether the seeds were dry-stored or buried in soil. Elongation rate was highest for early- and fast-germinating seeds. Time to midelongation increased with maximum shoot length. These germination and preemergence growth models can now be combined with other submodels to develop a blackgrass emergence model.
Nomenclature: Blackgrass, Alopecurus myosuroides Huds. ALOMY.