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Plant & Soil Sciences
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
dormancy, Panicum virgatum, stand, emergence, planting rate
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a high-yielding perennial C4 prairie grass species, is a top candidate as a bioenergy feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production. Seedling establishment is a primary concern given the inherent variability in switchgrass seed dormancy. Determining current states of seed quality in terms of emergence percentage is crucial for a successful stand establishment. A practical seed vigor test was conducted under greenhouse conditions to determine current emergence percentage. Three depths and three media types were conditions evaluated in the vigor test. To find correlation between emergence percentage in greenhouse test conditions and that in field conditions, results from the vigor test were applied in two separate field evaluations. Field evaluations showed that vigor test conditions of field soil at 1-cm depth yielded below the target, suggesting that this condition did not put enough stress on seedling emergence in the greenhouse vigor test. A 20% increase of vigor test results in the field soil/1 cm condition could accurately predict field emergence. Field results suggested that coarse sand at 5-cm accurately predicted field emergence of highly vigorous varieties and that coarse sand at 1-cm and fine sand at 3-cm predicted field emergence in moderately to least vigorous varieties.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Herbert, Stephen J