Effect of burial on the softening of hard seeds of subterranean clover
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
35(2) 201 - 210
Burrs of eight varieties of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.), which had experienced one summer at the soil surface, were placed on the soil surface and at depths of 2, 6 and 10 cm in the soil. The numbers of residual hard seeds were determined after 1, 2 and 3 years. The effects of laboratory treatment at a diurnally fluctuating temperature of 60/15¦C on the softening of buried seeds and of seeds stored in the laboratory for 1 and 3 years were determined. Rate of seed softening in all varieties decreased with increasing depth of burial, apparently because the soil insulated the seeds from high soil surface temperatures. Few seeds of the varieties Northam and Geraldton softened during 3 years of burial at 6 or 10 cm; while, at the other extreme, few seeds of Yarloop survived 3 years at any depth. Some evidence was found for microbial decomposition of hard seeds in the field. Seeds softened more readily at 60/15¦C (in the laboratory) as the preceding periods of either laboratory storage or field burial increased. Such storage or burial experiences have a preconditioning effect on hard seeds, making them more amenable to softening once they are subjected to wide diurnal temperature fluctuations. The results indicate that soil tillage associated with cropping should build up a useful soil seed reserve of the harder seeded varieties.
Full text doi:10.1071/AR9840201
© CSIRO 1984