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Fertilizer application method affects nitrogen uptake in weeds and wheat

  • Robert E. Blackshaw, Gregory Semach (a1) and H. Henry Janzen (a1)


Managing fertilizer in cropping systems may be an important component of integrated weed management programs. A field study was conducted to determine the effect of various application methods of the 15N-enriched nitrogen (N) fertilizer on N uptake in green foxtail, wild mustard, and spring wheat and on crop–weed competition. N application methods consisted of ammonium nitrate in solution applied broadcast on the soil surface, applied in pools on the soil surface at 20-cm intervals between every second wheat row, and point injected 10 cm deep at intervals similar to those of the surface pools. An unfertilized control treatment was also included. N uptake by green foxtail throughout the growing season was often greater from surface broadcast than from surface pools or point-injected N and was sometimes greater from surface pools than from point-injected N. In contrast, N uptake by wild mustard was rarely affected by the fertilizer placement method. In the presence of weeds, the ranking of N uptake by wheat usually was point injected > surface pools > surface broadcast. Weed biomass was often greater with surface broadcast than with either surface pools or point-injected N. In the absence of weeds, wheat yields were similar across the three N application methods. However, in the presence of green foxtail, wheat yields were greater with point-injected N than with surface broadcast N in two of the 3 yr and with surface pools of N in one of the 3 yr. In the presence of wild mustard, wheat yields were greater with surface pools and point-injected N compared with the unfertilized control in two of the 3 yr, whereas yields with broadcast N were never greater than the unfertilized control. Study findings suggest that point-injected N results in suppressed weed growth, not by reduced N uptake by weeds but instead by greater N uptake by wheat that increases its competitiveness with weeds. Information gained in this study will be utilized to develop a more integrated program for weed management in spring wheat.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Lethbridge Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1;


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Fertilizer application method affects nitrogen uptake in weeds and wheat

  • Robert E. Blackshaw, Gregory Semach (a1) and H. Henry Janzen (a1)


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