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Emergence timing affects growth and reproduction of goosegrass (Eleusine indica)

  • Xiaoyan Ma (a1), Yajie Ma (a2), Hanwen Wu (a3), Xiangliang Ren (a4), Weili Jiang (a5) and Yan Ma (a6)...

Abstract

Goosegrass is considered one of the worst agricultural weeds worldwide. Understanding its life cycle will provide useful management information. Field experiments with six emergence times (April, May, June, July, August, and September) were conducted at Anyang, China in 2015 and 2017 to clarify the growth and reproduction of goosegrass emerging at different times within a season. The result showed that plant height, dry weight, average weight per inflorescence, total inflorescence weight, average seed number per inflorescence, and total number of seeds per plant were relatively low in the April cohort, peaked with the May or June emergence cohort, and decreased thereafter. However, the earliest emergence of goosegrass in April had the highest total number of inflorescences. The plants of the May cohort produced the greatest number of seeds: 225,954 and 322,501 seeds per plant in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Delayed emergence resulted in less seed production; most plants that emerged in September did not flower or set seed. The 1,000-seed weight did not vary among the emergence cohorts. The reproductive investment was lowest for plants of the May cohort and then increased as emergence time was delayed to June, July, and August. Fresh mature seed of all emergence cohorts was extremely dormant and had low germination only up to 6% from August to November, and high germination (44% to 93%) in December. The information gained from this study indicates that weed management strategies should focus on the early-emerged seedlings such as the April and May cohorts, so as to effectively prevent goosegrass seed production, minimize the weed seed replenishment into the soil seed bank, and reduce the infestation in subsequent seasons.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Yan Ma, State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Institute of Cotton Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Anyang 455000, China. Email: aymayan@126.com

References

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