Postdispersal processes play an important role in the regulation of weed population dynamics. Experiments were conducted at two locations in Arkansas to understand postdispersal loss of five arable weed species important to this region—barnyardgrass, johnsongrass, pitted morningglory, Palmer amaranth, and red rice—between seed dispersal in autumn and the production of fresh seeds the subsequent autumn. Total seed loss through predation, decay, germination (fatal or successful), and loss in viability was estimated, and the influences of residue level and seed burial depth (near ground vs. 5 cm deep) were also examined. On average, the active (i.e., viable) seedbank proportion in spring (5 mo after dispersal) ranged from 8 to 11% (barnyardgrass), 10 to 11% (johnsongrass), 20 to 23% (pitted morningglory), 4 to 6% (Palmer amaranth), and 5 to 10% (red rice) across the two locations. At 1 yr after dispersal, 0.7 to 1.5% of barnyardgrass, 7 to 8% of johnsongrass, 5 to 9% of pitted morningglory, about 1.5% of Palmer amaranth, and 0.2 to 0.7% of red rice were part of the active seedbank for the two locations. There was no evidence to suggest that establishing a vegetation cover (such as a rye cover crop) after harvest of the main crop could accelerate seed predation. Burial depth did not influence seed decay, but most (45 [pitted morningglory] to 99% [Palmer amaranth]) of the seeds retrieved from the predator feeding stations were found buried in the soil substrate, and thus, not available for most predator species. This suggests that practices that allow weed seeds to lie on the soil surface (such as no-till planting in autumn) are highly valuable in encouraging seed predation. The high levels of seed loss observed in this study indicate that seedbank management should be a vital component of integrated weed management strategies.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv., johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers., Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats., pitted morningglory, Ipomoea lacunosa L., red rice, Oryza sativa L., cereal rye, Secale cereale L.