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Enhancing buffel grass seed germination by acid treatment for rapid vegetation establishment on railway batters
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Surya BhattaraiSurya Bhattarai, James FoxJames Fox, Yeboah Gyasi-AgyeiYeboah Gyasi-Agyei
Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) is one of the preferred species for revegetation of railway embankment steep slopes (batters) in Central Queensland, Australia. Its seed germination is inherently poor and becomes unpredictable, especially in semi-arid regions characterized by low rainfall, due to its extended period of dormancy. Thus its use for railway batters erosion control becomes a major concern where the development of good grass cover within a short time is required to minimize the risk of damage from storms. The effects of different germination media, and concentrations and soaking duration of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) on seed germination were evaluated. Final seed germination without treatment was only 18%, 15% and 12% in the potting mix, heavy clay soil and petridish, respectively. Final germination percentage and velocity of germination was significantly greater with potting mix, followed by clay and paper towelling. Similarly, days to first germination, final germination and mean time to germination (MTG) were significantly earlier for potting mix, followed by clay and paper towelling. Seed germination was highest (94%) on 4 min of soaking with concentrated H2SO4, and declined with extended soaking reaching to a lethal duration after 10 min. Seed germination was lower with lower concentration of the acid. Increasing acid concentration enhanced first germination, shorter duration for final germination and shorter MTG. At lower concentration also, increasing soaking duration beyond 20 min reduced final seed germination. Concentrated H2SO4 treatment may be employed for improving buffel seed germination provided safety issues for bulk handling are addressed. Crown Copyright r 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.