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Above- and belowground interference of wheat (Triticum aestivum) by Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)

  • Martin J. Stone (a1), Harry T. Cralle, James M. Chandler (a2), Travis D. Miller (a2), Rodney W. Bovey (a3) and Katherine H. Carson (a4)...


Greenhouse experiments in central Texas assessed the relative importance of above- and belowground interactions of semidwarf Mit wheat and Marshall ryegrass during vegetative growth. One experiment used partitions to compare the effect of no (controls), aboveground only, belowground only, and full interaction for 75 d after planting (DAP) one wheat and nine ryegrass plants in soil volumes of 90, 950, and 3,800 ml. The results with the different soil volumes were similar. Wheat growth in the aboveground interaction only did not differ from controls. However, the full or belowground only interaction of wheat with ryegrass reduced wheat height, leaf number, tillering, leaf area, percent total nonstructural carbohydrates in shoot, and dry weights of leaves, stems, and roots 45 and 75 DAP compared to controls. Wheat in full and belowground interaction only did not differ from one another in growth. A replacement series experiment of 56 d also showed that the competitive advantage of ryegrass was relatively greater in root than in shoot growth. No allelopathic response of wheat to ryegrass occurred. While the tallness of the semidwarf wheat minimized aboveground interference by ryegrass, the root growth of the thinner and more fibrous roots of ryegrass greatly enhanced its belowground competitiveness.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77845;


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