We assessed the persistence of eight major cruciferous crops–leaf mustard, oilseed rape, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, turnip, and radish–growing in the field. In the first part of our experiment, we tested the viability of seeds that had been buried at two different soil depths for up to 16 months. We then broadcast seeds over the soil surface and left them undisturbed to investigate the survivorship of the resultant plants over two years. Seed viability was significantly affected by plant taxa and burial depth, but not substantially affected by the duration of burial. Although seeds of leaf mustard had the greatest viability among all crops examined here, the viability rates were significantly lower at 2 cm depth than at 15 cm. Seeds of leaf mustard, oilseed rape, broccoli, turnip, and Chinese cabbage remained viable throughout the 16-month period. A study of plant demography revealed that only leaf mustard and oilseed rape succeeded in producing seeds and overwintering in the undisturbed field. However, neither of those species competed well with other plants long-term and their overall growth and survival rates declined during the evaluation period. In addition, insect herbivory severely decreased the growth of all of these crops. Our results suggest that populations of leaf mustard and oilseed rape do not tend to persist in the field for more than a few years without disturbance and external seed inputs.
Figures & Tables
Fig. 1. Mean monthly air temperature (℃) and monthly precipitation (mm) in the research field from 2014 to 2016.