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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Modelling below-ground shoot elongation and emergence time of Sonchus arvensis shoots

Torssell, Bengt; Eckersten, Henrik; Anbari, Saghi; Lundkvist, Anneli; Verwijst, Theo


To assess emergence time of shoots from roots of the perennial weed Sonchus arvensis as a function of root weight and soil temperature, we performed an experiment to which linear models were fitted. Root parts of three distinct initial weight classes were grown in pots in the dark at constant temperatures of 4, 8 and 18 degrees C, respectively. During five harvest occasions, prior to or at shoot emergence, below-ground shoot length was measured. Root planting depth (3, 10 and 17 cm) did not influence shoot elongation rate. The below-ground shoot elongation rate for a given initial root-weight class was estimated from the observations to be constant with time, but to increase with temperature and initial root weight. By expressing shoot length for a given day as a linear function of the number of days from planting date, and elongation rate as a linear function of temperature, we calculated (1) the accumulated temperature-sum requirement for emergence, (2) emergence time for variable temperature conditions in a clay soil using soil temperature recordings at 5-cm depth for seven seasons in central Sweden and (3) the emergence time at three elevated temperature levels and initial root-weight classes. The accumulated temperature-sum requirements for below-ground shoots of S. arvensis to reach soil surface are independent of temperature regime for roots of a given initial weight but lower for heavier than lighter roots. The temperature limit for below-ground shoot elongation to occur is about 2.0-2.5 degrees C. Between-year variations in temperature under field conditions cause larger variation to emergence time than initial root-weight differences. An average temperature increase of 3 degrees C would cause an earlier emergence time, in the same range (about 2 weeks) as the difference between the earliest and latest year in the current weather conditions.


model; Perennial Sow-thistle; pre-emergence growth; roots; temperature; weed

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil and Plant Science
2015, Volume: 65, number: 7, pages: 582-588