Seed deterioration, and therefore seed germination potential, are highly influenced by relative humidity and temperature. However, limited species-specific information is available about the effect of long-term soaking in water on seed germination potential. Knowing the potential fate of a creeping bentgrass seed that falls in an irrigation canal is important for the study of transgene flow in this species at the landscape level. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of soaking time and water temperature on germination of creeping bentgrass seed and to assess how fast a panicle could be moved in an irrigation canal. Germination was determined for seeds from panicles of three cultivars of creeping bentgrass that were soaked in water for up to 17 wk at two water temperatures, 4 and 20 C. Creeping bentgrass seeds did not lose their ability to germinate after 17 wk in water at 20 C and, although reduced, germination was still 46% after 17 wk in water at 4 C. The reduction in germination in seeds from panicles kept in water at 4 C was due to the induction of secondary dormancy, which was overcome by dry seed storage at room temperature. We quantified that a panicle that falls in an irrigation canal has the potential to travel downstream at an average rate of 19 m min−1 and move seeds that could potentially establish seedlings elsewhere. Therefore, movement of creeping bentgrass seed by water has to be considered as a means of gene flow.
Nomenclature: Creeping bentgrass, Agrostis stolonifera L.