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Weed Suppression and Tolerance in Winter Oats

  • Nick S. Fradgley (a1), Henry E. Creissen (a1), Helen Pearce (a1), Sally A. Howlett (a1), Bruce D. Pearce (a2), Thomas F. Döring (a2) and Robbie D. Girling (a2)...


A crops ability to both suppress weed growth and tolerate weed competition is a key consideration when taking an agroecological approach to weed management. Amongst other cereals, oats are widely considered to have superior weed competitiveness yet studies examining competitive ability of oat varieties are rare. We investigated the ability of oats to suppress weeds and yield in the presence of competition from weeds in trials involving five husked and three naked oat varieties at an organic site in the east of England over four trial years (2009-13). We identified a number of key traits that were important for weed suppression including establishment rate, tillering ability, and early leaf area index (LAI) which highlight the importance of rapid early growth rate. Furthermore, taller varieties tended to be more weed tolerant but not necessarily more suppressive. Trade-offs between competitive traits and yield were not found in this study. Crop tillering ability was highlighted as an important trait for selection due to its beneficial effects on weed suppression as well as grain yield and also its high heritability.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author’s E-mail:


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Current address of first author: National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0LE, UK.


Current address of second author: Crop & Soils Systems, Scotland’s Rural College, Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK.


Current address of sixth author: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Agricultural Sciences Department, Germany.


Current address of seventh author: Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

Associate Editor for this paper: Steve Fennimore, University of California, Davis



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Weed Suppression and Tolerance in Winter Oats

  • Nick S. Fradgley (a1), Henry E. Creissen (a1), Helen Pearce (a1), Sally A. Howlett (a1), Bruce D. Pearce (a2), Thomas F. Döring (a2) and Robbie D. Girling (a2)...


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