GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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134 www.GamekeepersClub.com I have always been amazed at the power contained within a seed. How can something as small as a turnip seed, that is only slightly bigger than the period at the end of this sen- tence, produce a plant that has a bulb the size of a softball and leaves as big as a boat paddle! Better yet look at the results that a single acorn can produce given time. So how does the germination process work? Germination by definition is the process by which the plant embryo within the seed resumes growth after a period of dor- mancy and a seedling emerges. A seed basically needs three things to begin growth. Location plays a major part in the success or failure of a seed. Very small seeds such as clover or brassica do not con- tain the amount of energy a much larger seed such as corn or lablab does and therefore do not need to be more than ½ inch deep, ¼ inch is ideal. What happens when small seeds are planted too deeply is once they receive the moisture and begin to germinate, they run out of energy before they reach the sur- face. Larger seeds have more stored energy so they can push through to the surface from a greater depth. Moisture is the next and maybe most obvious need for seeds to begin germination. The moisture already present in the soil at planting time is sometimes enough to get the process started. Some seeds with a very hard testa (seed coat) like a sunflower for example, generally need a good rain to get the testa to begin to break down. One problem with leaving large seeds like soybeans laying on the soil surface and not covered at a proper depth, is often times a good rain will begin the breakdown of the seed coat, the seed then begins to try and push its newly formed root through the soil surface which is drying out and usually crusting over until the next rain. Large seeds left on the soil surface are also very vulnera- ble to birds and other pests. Soil temperature is the other important factor for a seed to begin life. Most seeds have an ideal germination temperature from the mid 70's to mid 80 degree range. Seeds will germinate at lower temperatures but the success rate may go down some. From that point on, it's no longer a seed; it's a seedling and a plant. From this point on it will require sunlight, soil mois- ture and nutrients to grow.X The Life of a Seed BY Austin Delano A Diminutive Force This picture shows the importance of planting at the proper depth, the seedling to the left was planted at 1.5 inches deep. The seed left on the soil surface received enough moisture to rupture the seed coat but will likely not survive. Lablab seedling that has just emerged and is beginning to form its first true leaves.

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