seed germination and fertilizer

Adrian Salter asalter at geko.com.au
Wed Feb 8 05:45:43 EST 1995


In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950131204439.2778B-100000 at rocky>,
egsutter at UCDAVIS.EDU (Ellen Sutter) wrote:

>> hello!  I am trying to help a student  determine if there is any
>> difference in seed germination when fertilizer is used.  If anyone can
>> help, it would be greatly appreciated.  It is science project time.  
>> Thank you.
>> 
>> 
>You might find a difference if the osmotic potential of the soil matrix 
>changes sufficiently with the addition of fertilizer.  If you can find an 
>osmometer, you can measure the osmotic potential or water potential of 
>soil with different amounts of fertilizer added (of course it has to be 
>in solution) and then find that treatment that prevents seed 
>germination.  Alternately you can try PEG>
>	Ellen Sutter

A good approximation is to test the electrical conductivity of an extract
of the soil. This correlates well with the water potential due to dissolved
salts. Any good book on plant growing media or soil science will have a
table listing the tolerance of different plant species to levels of TDS
(total dissolved solids). The effects on germination may not be clear-cut,
however, as it may be complicated by the seed priming effect, which
involves partial imbibition of the seed in solutions of low water
potential. - As soon as the water potential is restored to normal, the seed
germinates.
Adrian
  





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