Phenology of seed maturation in babysbreath (Gypsophila paniculata) in northwest Michigan, USA, and its relation to glyphosate efficacy.
Babysbreath or perennial babysbreath (Gypsophila paniculata L.) is an aggressive invasive plant in large parts of southern Canada and the northern and western United States. It reproduces and disperses by seed, so the phenology of seed maturation is important in designing management programs. The present study provides the first quantitative assessment of G. paniculata seed-maturation phenology in a field population, as well as the first quantitative assessment of how the efficacy of herbicide treatment in preventing production of germinable seeds depends on the timing of treatment in relation to this phenology. Seeds were collected from untreated plants on five dates during July and August in both 2016 and 2017 and tested for germinability. Percent germination increased from 20% to 81% between July 22 and 28 and exceeded 90% by August 4, 2016. The seed-maturation phenology in 2017 was similar but delayed by about 4 d. On a growing degree-day scale, seed-maturation phenologies for the 2 yr were nearly identical. We also tested germinability of seeds from plants sprayed with glyphosate (23.4 ml ae L-1) on July 11, 18, and 25, 2016 (one date per plant). Percent germination increased from 0% to 13% to 20% over successive treatment dates, highlighting the importance of completing treatment early in the growing season.