Seed germination of five Poa species at negative water potentials.
Under field conditions water is often inadequate for satisfactory seed germination. An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of simulated dry conditions on germination and seedling growth of five bluegrass (Poa) species, including: Texas, P. arachnifera Torr.; annual, P. annua L.; mutton, P. fendleriana Vasey; Kentucky, P. pratensis L., and Sandberg, P. secunda J. Presl. bluegrasses. Fifty-seed samples of each species were germinated at water potentials of -1.6, -0.8, -0.4, -0.2, and 0 MPa for a 42-d period. Annual and Sandberg bluegrass tolerated moisture stress at germination better than the other species, requiring 14 d to reach 40% germination in water of -0.8 MPa potential. Kentucky bluegrass required 21 d to reach 40% germination under similar conditions. Mutton and Texas bluegrass were the least tolerant of low water potentials, requiring 42 d to reach 20% germination. Selection for increased seed germination at low water potentials should be possible in Poa species assuming the trait has moderate heritability.