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Effect of proximity factors on competition between winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)

  • Abul Hashem (a1), S. R. Radosevich and M. L. Roush (a2)


Density and spatial arrangement (rectangularity) effects on the competitive relationships, yield performance, and dynamics in canopy dominance of winter wheat and Italian ryegrass were evaluated using two addition series experiments. In experiment 1, combinations of six densities of each species formed the treatment matrix of addition series. In experiment 2, each species was tested at four densities and three rectangularities (RE) of winter wheat. In monocultures, crop density (plants per square meter) explained 82 to 85% of the total variation in the per-plant biomass of winter wheat in experiment 1. In mixtures of crop and weed, initial wheat density (N1) and initial ryegrass density (N2) and interaction of N1 and N2 explained 74 to 80% of the total variation in the per-plant biomass of winter wheat and 68 to 79% of Italian ryegrass in experiment 1. Intraspecific competition was apparent between 15 and 90 days after emergence (DAE) in winter wheat and between 90 and 170 DAE in Italian ryegrass. In mixtures, RE influenced plant size of Italian ryegrass up to 50 DAE only. Maximum winter wheat intraspecific competition occurred at 170 DAE, but maximum interspecific competition occurred during reproductive stages in mixtures. High RE increased seed yield, seed size, and harvest index of winter wheat and reduced biomass of Italian ryegrass. Grain yield of winter wheat was reduced up to 92% by competition from ryegrass. Even nine ryegrass plants in 100 winter wheat plants m−2 reduced winter wheat grain yield by 33%. However, the extent of loss in winter wheat grain yield was less in RE 16 (wider spacing) than in RE 1 (square planting) or 4 (close row spacing). Winter wheat was the stronger competitor during vegetative stages, but Italian ryegrass became the stronger competitor during the reproductive stages of development. Winter wheat leaves dominated at the top canopy during the vegetative stage, but ryegrass dominated at the top canopy during the reproductive stages. In the top canopy of mixtures at 200 DAE, the leaf area indices (LAI) of ryegrass was 6.6 times greater than winter wheat at RE 1 compared to only 1.6 times at RE 16. Greater LAI of Italian ryegrass in the top canopy reduced photosynthetically active radiation available to winter wheat by 68% at booting stage.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331


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