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Spatial arrangement, density, and competition between barnyardgrass and tomato: I. Crop growth and yield

  • Robert F. Norris, Clyde L. Elmore (a1), Marcel Rejmánek (a2) and William C. Akey (a3)


Field studies were conducted to determine how the spatial arrangement of weed populations influences interspecific competition. We studied the influence of regular, random, and clumped distributions of barnyardgrass on growth and yield of direct-seeded tomato planted at different densities. Increasing aggregation increased intraspecific competition in barnyardgrass. At the same time, interspecific competition experienced by tomato from barnyardgrass decreased. Differences in the amount of shading of the tomato canopy by barnyardgrass contributed to yield loss differences for the various spatial arrangements. Clumped barnyardgrass caused significantly less average shading than barnyardgrass in regular or random arrangements. At a typical planting density of 10 tomato plants m−1 of row, yield losses ranged from 10 to 35% (1993) or 8 to 50% (1994) when competing with a clumped arrangement of barnyardgrass. At the same tomato density, yields were reduced from 20 to 50% (1993) or 11 to 75% (1994) for the regular and random arrangements for the same barnyardgrass densities. Predicted single-season economic threshold densities for barnyardgrass at a typical tomato planting density of 10 plants m−1 would be one barnyardgrass plant per 25, 19, or 15 m of crop row, respectively, for regular, random, and clumped spatial distributions.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Weed Science Program, Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616;


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