Seed germination and seedling growth parameters in nine tall fescue varieties under salinity stress

Shiade, S.R.G.; Boelt, B.

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B-Soil and Plant Science 70(6): 485-494


ISSN/ISBN: 0906-4710
DOI: 10.1080/09064710.2020.1779338
Accession: 071029753

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To assess seed germination parameters and identifying tolerant varieties, seeds of nine tall fescue varieties (Festuca arundinaceaSchreb.) were germinated under various salinity levels for 14 days. Tall fescue is considered 'moderately tolerant' to salinity stress, but our study revealed a remarkable diversity among the tested varieties. Armani, Essential, Fatcat, and Starlett were found to reach the same final germination (>90%), irrespective of NaCl concentration up to 15 ds m(-1)NaCl; Asterix and Meandre expressed lower germination under the highest salinity level (>75%); and final germination decreased in Eyecandy, Rhizing star, and Thomahawk gradually with increasing salinity (>55%). The main effect of increasing salinity was a delay in germination, and our study suggests that the recording of final germination, which is performed on day-14 in a standard germination test, should be postponed in order to understand the full effect of salinity on germination potential. Nonetheless, a delay in germination will affect turf quality negatively and hence there is good reason to test for salinity tolerance when choosing a variety for sowing on saline soil. Further, our findings indicate a future perspective for breeding for improved salinity tolerance in tall fescue by the identification of salinity-tolerant breeding lines or varieties.