Field tests in 1980 and 1981 indicated that smooth pigweed (Amaranthus hybridus L.) competition affected cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L. ‘GSA 71′) water relations by reducing plant water status early in the season and by shading late in the season. Early in the growing season, cotton leaf water potential and turgor pressure reductions as great as 0.53 and 0.21 MPa, respectively, were measured at a smooth pigweed density of 2.5 plants m-2. Late in the 1981 growing season, smooth pigweed reduced the photon flux density reaching the cotton canopy by 90% at midday. The shaded conditions resulted in increased cotton water potential under low soil water conditions, but the inability to reduce solute potential lowered the turgor pressure of cotton, irrespective of soil water level. Comparisons of smooth pigweed and cotton water relations indicated that smooth pigweed had the capacity to maintain higher water potential and turgor pressure than cotton. The more favorable water status of smooth pigweed resulted in part from increased water extraction at lower depths in the soil profile and higher diffusive resistance, thereby reducing transpirational water loss.