Mark De Kleine, Yongqian Ding, Manoj Karkee, Qin Zhang
Weed competition can reduce the growth of young crops and ultimately reduce produce quality and yield. Growers currently rely on costly chemical and/or manual weed control practices to reduce the weed competition with their crops. Soil-pasteurization could be an innovative weed control practice to reduce the cost and environmental effects of manual and/or chemical weed control techniques. In this work, thermal water treatments using variations of temperature and time were applied to two types of grass seeds to evaluate the effects on seed germination in a laboratory environment. Seeds were wrapped in brown paper towels during the thermal treatments and then kept in a plastic dome, at 23ºC, for 14 days. A germination rate of 81% was measured at 23ºC water treatments, whereas no grass seed was germinated when 80ºC water was applied for 30s. These results show that a thermal water soil-pasteurization technique has a potential to effectively control weed seed germination in agricultural fields.
If you would like more information about this topic or other developments in agriculture, contact Dr. Qin Zhang.