We studied the effects of temperature (5, 10, 20, and 30 C) on the phytotoxic activity of decaying quackgrass [Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.] leaves and rhizomes that were incubated in soils for 0, 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seeds were grown for 96 h in water, water extracts of control soils, and water extracts of soil with quackgrass rhizomes or leaves. Dried quackgrass rhizomes and leaves contained water-soluble toxins that inhibited alfalfa seedling development and growth. There was a strong interaction between incubation time and temperature on the development of additional toxins by decomposing quackgrass. High incubation temperature (30 C) accelerated toxin formation and ultimate decay. Intermediate temperature (20 C) delayed toxin formation and decay. Low incubation temperatures (5 C and 10 C) prevented formation of additional toxin. In all extracts of quackgrass and soil that had been incubated for 6 weeks, normal alfalfa seedling number equaled that in water. However, seedling growth varied with incubation temperatures.
Treatment of quackgrass with glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine] in the greenhouse did not influence the toxicity of decaying quackgrass leaves. The highest toxic effect was noted after 1 week of decay on the soil surface.