A Study of the Practical Field Establishment of Taraxacum kok-saghyz (Russian Dandelion) From Seed
Taraxacum kok-saghyz (L. E. Rodin) (TKS), also called Russia dandelion, is a potential source of natural rubber. One key challenge to commercial production of TKS is seed establishment in the field. Four experiments were conducted to explore the potential for TKS field establishment. Based on 97% ±0.5 mean germination, our non-dormant seedlot was fit for the field experiments. Two years of field experiments at two sites showed very low recruitment regardless of treatments. The best recruitment was 14.8%. Seedlings mostly emerged within 3 to 6 weeks after seeding. TKS seedlings recruit best if planted at or near soil surface under warmer (but not hot) temperatures (<25 oC) and in light soils. Using mulch is recommended for TKS field establishment to protect seeds and to control soil temperature and prevent seedlings drying out. Overall, the results of our study suggest that growing TKS from seed in the field remains a challenge.