Weed emergence time and the longevity of weed seeds within the soil play an important role in implementing a timely and effective weed control program. In this study, the seed longevity and emergence pattern of wild oat (Avena fatua L.) and sterile oat [Avena sterilis ssp. ludoviciana (Durieu) Gillet & Magne] were monitored in field conditions. Fresh seeds of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana were placed into nylon bags (50 seeds per bag in three replications for three locations in eastern Australia: Gatton, Narrabri, and St George) and buried at depths of 0, 2, and 10 cm in November 2017. Bags were exhumed at 6-mo intervals over 30 mo to evaluate seed germination, viability, and decay components. The seed decay component of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana followed an exponential pattern. On both the surface and at the 10-cm burial depth, 50% of the seeds of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana had decayed by 6 mo. The seeds of A. fatua persisted longer at 2-cm depth than at other depths, particularly at St George, where 90% of the seeds decayed after the 30-mo study. However, at Gatton and Narrabri, 90% of the seeds of A. fatua at this depth had decayed after 18 mo of burial in the soil. In the emergence pattern experiment (2017 to 2019), the emergence of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana from different burial depths was also studied. The emergence of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana was greater from 2-cm (29% to 36%) and 5-cm (18% to 43%) soil depths compared with the surface (5% to 10%) and 10-cm (3-9%) soil depth. Avena ludoviciana emerged earlier (2,253 growing degree days [GDD]; March 14, 2018) than A. fatua (3,364 GDD; May 23, 2018). Both species exhibited high emergence between May to June 2018, and the last cohort of each species was observed in October 2018. The highest seedling emergence occurred at the start of the winter season (May), which emphasizes the need for early PRE weed control such as tillage, herbicide application, and cover crops to ensure crops are planted in a clean seedbed. The continued emergence of these weeds into the spring season (October) emphasizes the need for extended periods of A. fatua and A. ludoviciana management. The results also suggest that management strategies that can control all emerged seedlings over 2 yr and restrict seed rain in the field could lead to complete control of Avena spp. in the field.
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Vol. 69 • No. 3