The practices of using isolation and distance in the seed production of open pollinated crops are fundamental concepts to ensure seed purity. We uniquely examined the effectiveness of replacing isolation plots for seed production and grass breeding with different sizes of novel nonwoven synthetic fabric pollination control tents (PCTs). Two fabrics, DWB10 and DWB24, were used along with multiple genotypes of tall fescue at Ardmore, Burneyville and Gene Autry locations in Oklahoma, USA during 2018 and 2019. Treatment effects were consistently significant in both years, but location differences were more pronounced in 2019. Interactions of treatments with locations or genotypes were not predominant. The two tent fabrics, generally, performed equally well for various traits in both years. Tent performance for both fabrics was particularly superior over control for various traits in 2019 (e.g., DWB10 tent showed a 36% increase for seed yield (SY) over the control). Introduction of fans in tents for increasing pollen flow in 2019 was not advantageous as it reduced the SY by 23%. The average temperature within tents was higher with lower average humidity than the control producing a microclimate for good yield and disease free seeds. The final germination (%) of seeds from tents and controls at 21 days was high and not much different with a minimum overall germination of 89% at Burneyville in 2018. There was no evidence of pollen contamination from tetraploid ryegrass pollen in any of the tent fabrics. Bad weather in 2018 affected the sturdiness of tents, but modifications in 2019 corrected all such mishaps. Further improvements in the structures, design and cover have since been made for field exploitation of technology in grass improvement and seed multiplication.
Key words: Ryegrass, fescue grass, pollination control tents, nonwoven fabrics.
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