Skip to Main Content

The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Preliminary Progress Toward Reducing Seed Dormancy in Native Grasses
Year: 2005
Author(s): Jones, K. D., Baldwin, B. S., Meints, P. D.
Source Title: Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 78-82
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans [L.] Nash), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) possess seed dormancy contributing to extremely poor field establishment. Two classical breeding techniques, half-sib progeny test (HSPT) and phenotypic recurrent selection (PRS), were used to attempt to enhance germination by reducing seed dormancy in native populations adapted to the humid Southeast. Switchgrass mean germination increased from 4% in cycle 1 to 26% in cycle 2 (14 d totals) by implementing PRS. Big bluestem and indiangrass germination was extremely low (0.2 to 1.2% in 14 d) for all populations. Fungal infestations of the seed may have affected seed viability. In big bluestem, the HSPT resulted in a higher mean germination versus one cycle of PRS (P = 0.019). Mean germination percentages of indiangrass were not different from the original population following either breeding method (P = 0.052). Hopefully, additional cycles of PRS will improve mean germination. Populations from this research will eventually have potential for use in biomass production and pasture establishment, as well as prairie restoration.
Publisher: The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
Editor(s): T. G. Barnes