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Adoption of cover crops in arid agroecosystems has been slow due to concerns regarding limited water resources and possible soil moisture depletion. In irrigated organic systems, potential ecosystem services from cover crops also must be considered in light of the concerns for water conservation. A constructive balance could be achieved with fall-sown small grain cover crops; however, their impacts on irrigated organic systems are poorly understood. Our first objective was to determine the ability of fall-sown small grains [cereal rye (Secale cereale L), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.)] to suppress winter weeds in an irrigated, organic transition field in the southwestern USA. Small grains were planted following the legume sesbania (Sesbania exaltata (Raf.) Rydb. ex A.W. Hill) during Fall 2012 and Fall 2013. In Spring 2013 and 2014, weed densities and biomass were determined within each cover crop treatment and compared against unplanted controls. Results indicated that both barley and oat were effective in suppressing winter weeds. Our second objective was to compare weed suppression and soil moisture levels among seven barley varieties developed in the western United States. Barley varieties (‘Arivat’, ‘Hayes Beardless’, ‘P919’, ‘Robust’, ‘UC603’, ‘UC937’, ‘Washford Beardless’) were fall-sown in replicated strip plots in Fall 2016. Weed densities were measured in Spring 2017 and volumetric soil moisture near the soil surface (5.1 cm depth) was measured at time intervals beginning in December 2016 and ending in March 2017. With the exception of ‘UC937’, barley varieties caused marked reductions in weed density in comparison with the unplanted control. Soil moisture content for the unplanted control was consistently lower than soil moisture contents for barley plots. Barley variety did not influence volumetric soil moisture. During the 2017–2018 growing season, we re-examined three barley varieties considered most amenable to the cropping system requirements (‘Robust’, ‘UC603’, ‘P919’), and these varieties were again found to support few weeds (≤ 5.0 weeds m−2). We conclude that several organically certified barley varieties could fill the need for a ‘non-thirsty’ cover crop that suppresses winter weeds in irrigated organic systems in the southwestern United States.
Palmer amaranth, an annual weed, and Verticillium dahliae, a fungal pathogen, can substantially reduce chile pepper yield. On the basis of the results of this study, we clarified implementation strategies for a potential management tactic for Palmer amaranth and V. dahliae in chile pepper: mustard seed meal (MSM). The objectives were to (1) determine MSM effects on Palmer amaranth seedbanks under different moisture levels, (2) measure glucosinolate degradation in soil hydrated to saturation and field capacity, and (3) determine the effects of decreasing moisture availability on MSM control of Palmer amaranth and V. dahliae. To address objective 1, seedbanks with and without MSM were hydrated to levels expected to both inhibit and promote germination (flooded, saturated, −0.03, −0.6 MPa, respectively). For objective 2, soil columns with MSM were held at different moisture levels and sampled over time. For objective 3, Palmer amaranth seeds were incubated with and without MSM, and with polyethylene glycol (PEG) solutions comprising a range of water potentials (0, −0.03, −0.6, −1.0, and −2.0 MPa). These PEG solutions were also used to hydrate MSM in agar plates with plugs of V. dahliae. All experiments were performed in growth chambers with temperatures and light conditions conducive to Palmer amaranth germination and V. dahliae mycelial growth. MSM-induced mortality in Palmer amaranth seedbanks was greater in soil at field capacity than in saturated soil and flooded soil; however, rates of glucosinolate degradation were greatest in saturated soil. Decreasing water availability progressively decreased the efficacy of MSM on Palmer amaranth because MSM was ineffective on nongerminated seeds. When incubated with PEG solutions with water potentials of 0, −0.03, and −0.6 MPa, MSM stopped growth of V. dahliae; however, MSM-induced control of V. dahliae was reduced by water potentials of −1.0 and −2.0 MPa. The results of this study indicate soils hydrated to field capacity maximize MSM-induced control of Palmer amaranth and V. dahliae.
Weed seeds with mechanical damage are more susceptible to mortality in soil than nondamaged seeds. In this study we introduce a colorimetric assay to distinguish mechanically damaged weed seeds from nondamaged weed seeds. Our objectives were to 1) compare steepates from mechanically damaged seeds against steepates from nondamaged seeds for their capacities to reduce resazurin—a nontoxic, water-soluble dye that changes color and light absorbance properties in response to pH; and 2) use light absorbance data from steepate-resazurin solutions to create classification trees for distinguishing damaged from nondamaged weed seeds. Species in this study included barnyardgrass, curly dock, junglerice, kochia, oakleaf datura, Palmer amaranth, spurred anoda, stinkgrass, tall morningglory, and yellow foxtail. Seeds of each species were subjected to mechanical damage treatments that collectively represented a range of damage severities. Damaged and nondamaged seeds were individually soaked in water to produce steepates that were combined with resazurin. Light absorbance properties of steepate-resazurin solutions indicated that for all species except kochia, damaged seeds reduced resazurin to greater extents than nondamaged seeds. Prediction accuracy rates for classification trees that used absorbance values as predictor variables were conditioned by species and damage type. Prediction accuracy rates were relatively low (66% to 86% accurate) for lightly damaged seeds, especially grass weed seeds. Prediction accuracy rates were high (91% to 99% accurate) for severely damaged seeds of specific broadleaf and grass weeds. Steepate-resazurin solutions that successfully separated seeds took no more than 32 h to produce. The results of this study indicate that the resazurin assay is a method for quickly distinguishing damaged from nondamaged weed seeds. Because rapid assessments of seed intactness may accelerate the development of tactics for reducing the number of weed seeds in soil, we advocate further development of resazurin assays by laboratories studying methods for weed seedbank depletion.
Invasive shrubs like Tamarix spp. are ecological and economic threats in the U.S. Southwest and West, as they displace native vegetation and require innovative management approaches. Tamarix control typically consists of chemical and mechanical removal, but these methods may have negative ecological and economic impacts. Tamarisk leaf beetles (Diorhabda spp.) released for biocontrol are becoming increasingly established within Western river systems and can provide additional control. Previous Diorhabda research studied integration of beetle herbivory with fire and with mechanical management methods and herbicide application (e.g., cut stump), but little research has been conducted on integration with mowing and foliar herbicide application, which cause minimal soil disturbance. At Caballo Reservoir in southern New Mexico, we addressed the question: “How does Tamarix respond to chemical and mechanical control when Diorhabda is well established at a site?” A field experiment was conducted by integrating mowing and foliar imazapyr herbicide at standard (3.6 g ae L−1 [0.75% v/v] and low (1.2 g ae L−1 [0.25% v/v]) rates with herbivory. Treatments were replicated five times at two sites—a dry site and a seasonally flooded site. Beetles and larvae were counted and green foliage was measured over 2 yr. Mowing and full herbicide rates reduced green foliage and limited regrowth compared with low herbicide rate and beetles alone. Integrating conventional management such as mowing and herbicide with biocontrol could improve Tamarix management by providing stresses in addition to herbivory alone.
The objective for this study was to determine if POST-directed applications of flumioxazin reduce fruit yield for chile pepper produced on coarse- and fine-textured soils irrigated by furrow. This objective was addressed with a multiyear (2015, 2016, 2017) field study that compared flumioxazin effects on fruit yield against a commercial standard (POST-directed carfentrazone) and the absence of a POST-directed herbicide. The field study occurred at two university research farms that differed in soil texture. On fine-textured soil, treatments included the no POST–directed herbicide control and the following four POST-directed herbicides applied to raised beds: (1) flumioxazin at 107 g ai ha–1 applied 4 wk after crop thinning, (2) carfentrazone at 35 g ai ha–1 applied 4 wk after crop thinning, (3) flumioxazin at 70 g ai ha–1 applied 4 and 6 wk after crop thinning, (4) carfentrazone at 35 g ai ha–1 applied 4 and 6 wk after crop thinning. On coarse-textured soil, treatments included the no POST–directed herbicide control and the following three POST-directed herbicides applied 4 wk after crop thinning: (1) flumioxazin at 107 g ai ha–1 applied to raised beds, (2) flumioxazin at 107 g ai ha–1 applied to furrows, (3) carfentrazone at 35 g ai ha–1 applied to raised beds. On fine-textured soil, treatment did not affect fruit yield. On coarse-textured soil, flumioxazin applied to furrows did not reduce fruit yield, but flumioxazin on raised beds reduced fruit yield of some cultivars in 2015 and 2017. Year-to-year variability in both flumioxazin-induced yield loss and soil characteristics suggested that chile pepper sensitivity to flumioxazin was negatively associated with soil organic matter content. In a follow-up greenhouse study, soil organic matter lessened flumioxazin-induced crop injury. In general, this study indicates that recommendations for POST-directed flumioxazin in New Mexico chile pepper will need to be soil-type specific.
Seven half-day regional listening sessions were held between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide-resistance management. The objective of the listening sessions was to connect with stakeholders and hear their challenges and recommendations for addressing herbicide resistance. The coordinating team hired Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, to facilitate all the sessions. They and the coordinating team used in-person meetings, teleconferences, and email to communicate and coordinate the activities leading up to each regional listening session. The agenda was the same across all sessions and included small-group discussions followed by reporting to the full group for discussion. The planning process was the same across all the sessions, although the selection of venue, time of day, and stakeholder participants differed to accommodate the differences among regions. The listening-session format required a great deal of work and flexibility on the part of the coordinating team and regional coordinators. Overall, the participant evaluations from the sessions were positive, with participants expressing appreciation that they were asked for their thoughts on the subject of herbicide resistance. This paper details the methods and processes used to conduct these regional listening sessions and provides an assessment of the strengths and limitations of those processes.
Herbicide resistance is ‘wicked’ in nature; therefore, results of the many educational efforts to encourage diversification of weed control practices in the United States have been mixed. It is clear that we do not sufficiently understand the totality of the grassroots obstacles, concerns, challenges, and specific solutions needed for varied crop production systems. Weed management issues and solutions vary with such variables as management styles, regions, cropping systems, and available or affordable technologies. Therefore, to help the weed science community better understand the needs and ideas of those directly dealing with herbicide resistance, seven half-day regional listening sessions were held across the United States between December 2016 and April 2017 with groups of diverse stakeholders on the issues and potential solutions for herbicide resistance management. The major goals of the sessions were to gain an understanding of stakeholders and their goals and concerns related to herbicide resistance management, to become familiar with regional differences, and to identify decision maker needs to address herbicide resistance. The messages shared by listening-session participants could be summarized by six themes: we need new herbicides; there is no need for more regulation; there is a need for more education, especially for others who were not present; diversity is hard; the agricultural economy makes it difficult to make changes; and we are aware of herbicide resistance but are managing it. The authors concluded that more work is needed to bring a community-wide, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of managing weeds within the context of the whole farm operation and for communicating the need to address herbicide resistance.
Locoweeds are plants of the genera Astragalus and Oxytropis (Fabaceae family) and are toxic to cattle, sheep, and horses. The toxic property of locoweeds is due to the alkaloid swainsonine (SWA), which is synthesized by an endophytic fungus Alternaria spp. section Undifilum. Although the endophyte–locoweed complex is often considered mutualistic, empirical evidence for benefits to host plants is lacking. This study: 1) compared the growth, photosynthesis, and leaf pigment and antioxidant concentrations between endophyte-infected and endophyte-free plants under well-watered and water-deficit conditions; and 2) measured SWA to determine whether SWA concentrations are attenuated by water deficit and leaf age. Locoweed species in this study were woolly loco and silky crazyweed. Endophyte-infected and endophyte-free (by removal of seed coat) seedlings, as confirmed by DNA analyses, were grown under greenhouse conditions for 6 mo, after which plants were subjected to three 12- to 15-d water-deficit periods that created sublethal drought conditions. Results suggest that the endophyte did not influence photosynthetic gas exchange and leaf pigment concentrations. Under well-watered conditions only, endophyte-infected woolly loco plants had lower shoot and root biomass and higher concentrations of α-tocopherol than endophyte-free plants. SWA analyses revealed taxon-specific effects of water deficit, with water deficit increasing SWA concentrations in young leaves of woolly loco but not affecting SWA concentration in silky crazyweed. These results suggest that the endophyte behaves as a parasite in woolly loco plants grown under optimal but not under water-limited conditions. Further, results indicate that drought conditions elevate the toxicity of woolly loco plants. Improved understanding of endophyte-locoweed interactions and factors influencing SWA levels will contribute to the development of livestock management strategies to predict toxicity in particular locoweed populations.
Brassicaceae weeds can be problematic in canola varieties that have not been modified to resist specific broad-spectrum herbicides. The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for increased rapeseed seeding rate as a management strategy for flixweed. To accomplish this objective, a field study was conducted to determine crop seeding rate effects on canopy light transmission and rapeseed yield characteristics, as well as a greenhouse study to determine morphological and photosynthetic responses of flixweed to decreasing irradiance levels. Results from the field study indicated that light transmittance through the canopy decreased linearly as crop seeding rate increased from 1.8 to 9.0 kg ha-1. Increasing crop seeding rate did not influence rapeseed aboveground biomass, seed yield, and harvest index, but negatively affected rapeseed seed oil content in one of two site-years. Greenhouse study results indicated that declining irradiance levels caused reductions in flixweed biomass, root allocation, and photosynthetic light compensation point. Flixweed leaf allocation, foliage area ratio, and specific foliage area increased in response to decreasing irradiance levels. Combined results of field and greenhouse studies suggest that increasing rapeseed seeding rate can suppress flixweed growth while not causing yield penalties from increased intraspecific competition. However, increased rapeseed seeding rate might not be an adequate control strategy on its own because flixweed displays characteristics of a shade-tolerant species.
Tactics that target seedbanks are important components of weed management systems; however, such tactics can be difficult to adopt because consequences of seedbank reduction are often unclear. This study developed model-based software to provide insights on the economic outcomes, in the context of chile pepper production, of additions to tall morningglory seedbanks. Data for the model were derived from this and previous studies. In this study, field experiments were conducted to determine chile pepper yield and harvest efficiency responses to mid-season tall morningglory infestations. The experimental treatments were factorial combinations of herbicide (pendimethalin-treated, nontreated) and tall morningglory density (0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 plants 10-m row–1). Treatments were installed 9.5 weeks after crop seeding. Data collected included fresh weight of marketable chile peppers and time required for one individual to harvest 10-m of crop row, which was used to calculate the amount of chile pepper harvested in 1 min (harvest efficiency). Results indicated that crop yield was not influenced by tall morningglory density, pendimethalin treatment and interactions between tall morningglory density and pendimethalin. Harvest efficiency was influenced by tall morningglory density but was not influenced by herbicide treatment or interactions between herbicide treatment and tall morningglory density. Each additional tall morningglory plant decreased the amount of chile pepper harvested in 1 min by 9.7 g. The results of this and previous studies were used to develop model-based software that presents tall morningglory seedbank density effects on: (1) tall morningglory seedling densities after pendimethalin, (2) time requirements for hand-hoeing after pendimethalin, and (3) time requirements for hand-harvesting to acquire yield goals. The model-based software is intended to be used in the instruction of weed seedbank management strategies. By presenting seedbank density effects on weed control outcomes and crop production expenses, the model-based software might promote adoption of seedbank reduction strategies.
If an herbicide application fails to control a targeted weed community sufficiently, farmers may try to eliminate surviving weeds with a follow-up application (hereafter “respray”). Despite the implications of resprays on the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, respray frequencies and causal factors are poorly understood. A two-part survey of glyphosate-resistant soybean fields and custom application services was conducted in Illinois during 2005 and 2006 to determine the relative frequency of respray requests for postemergence glyphosate, and to identify weed community factors associated with glyphosate respray requests. A meta-analysis was then utilized to project the impacts of weed community factors driving respray requests on crop yield. Glyphosate resprays were requested for 14% of surveyed fields in both 2005 (n = 43) and 2006 (n = 90). In 2005, respray requests were highly associated with both population densities of weed communities visible from roadsides and incidences of skips (i.e., rectangular areas of escaped weeds indicating custom application failure). A skip increased the odds of respray request by more than ninefold, and population densities of weed communities visible from roadsides were, on average, 2.5 times greater in respray-requested fields compared with nonrequested fields. In 2006, respray requests were associated with population densities of weed communities identified by walking through fields. Contrary to 2005, requests in 2006 were concentrated in those fields with low weed population densities. Prior to resprays, weed communities capable of causing substantial soybean yield loss were present in both respray-requested and nonrequested fields in 2005 but in only nonrequested fields in 2006. Although this investigation indicated that custom applicators can take actions to reduce respray requests (i.e., avoiding skips), farmers and custom applicators should be prepared to implement additional weed control after postemergence glyphosate applications because damaging weed communities may remain.
Pendimethalin control failures on tall morningglory are critical shortcomings in weed-control programs for chile pepper in New Mexico. Using weed seedbank augmentation, we conducted a field study to (1) determine if pendimethalin control of tall morningglory is affected by tall morningglory seedbank density, and (2) identify weed community factors that influence labor for removing the tall morningglory plants that escape pendimethalin. The field study was complemented with a growth chamber study conducted to clarify the effects of pendimethalin rate on the putative association between tall morningglory seedbank density and pendimethalin control outcomes. Under field conditions and after square-root transformation of the dependent variable, the effects of seedbank density on seedling escape density were described with natural logarithmic functions. Although pendimethalin control of tall morningglory decreased with increasing seedbank density, seedbank additions increased labor requirements for removing tall morningglory at only a site-year characterized by low population densities in the indigenous weed community. In growth chambers, increasing pendimethalin rate negatively influenced the effects of increasing seedbank density on pendimethalin control failures. This study shows that pendimethalin control of tall morningglory is reduced when seedbank densities of this species are high. Knowledge of seedbank density effects on specific control outcomes may influence grower attitudes on management strategies that target weed seedbanks.
A study was conducted to quantify the magnitude and sources of variation in common waterhemp temporal patterns of emergence over 1 yr. In 2008 and 2010, emergence patterns in the absence of soil disturbance were determined for replicated samples of maternal families (progeny from one individual) separately harvested during the previous year from four plants within each of four agricultural fields (16 maternal families yr−1) at a university research farm near Urbana, IL. Combining data across years, variance partitioning indicated that seed sample within maternal family explained 48% of total variation in the percentage of viable, buried seeds that produced seedlings. Differences within, rather than among, maternal families also accounted for large fractions (60 to 99%) of total variation in cumulative percentage emergence at specific points during the growing season. Within years, seed samples characterized by delayed or accelerated emergence patterns did not originate from specific maternal plants. These results indicate that common waterhemp seed populations are without strong maternal plant effects that limit emergence to narrow intervals within the overall emergence period. Thus, results of this study support the use of contemporary approaches for modeling herbicide resistance evolution in common waterhemp, which assume seedling cohorts contain offspring from all individuals occurring within the maternal population.
Experiments investigating mortality in the soil seedbank are aided by using only seeds that are initially viable and capable of remaining ungerminated (hereafter “persistent seeds”). However, seed mortality experiments often use heterogeneous populations containing persistent, nonviable, and germinable individuals. In this investigation we developed and compared nondestructive tests for isolating persistent seeds of two weed species characterized by physical seed dormancy (dormancy imposed by a water-impermeable seed coat): velvetleaf and ivyleaf morningglory. Individual seeds were weighed, steeped in water (hereafter “steepate”) for 48 h, and then assayed for imbibition. These seeds were then subjected to persistence assays conducted under controlled conditions (60 d in hydrated soil under 25/15 C day/night temperatures, 14-h photoperiod). Persistent seeds were less likely to imbibe and more likely to produce steepates with low electrical conductivity compared with germinable and nonviable seeds. For velvetleaf, persistent seeds were best segregated by comparing changes in steepate conductivity during 4 to 48 h of soaking, with the corresponding classification and regression tree (CART) model making few false discoveries (false discovery rate for persistence; FDRp = 8.6%, n = 93) and many true positive classifications (true positive rate for persistence; TPRp = 100%, n = 85). For ivyleaf morningglory, both a change in steepate conductivity from 4 to 48 h of soaking and imbibition status after soaking accurately separated persistent seeds (accuracy measures of corresponding CART models: FDRp = 5.6%, n = 150; TPRp = 100%, n = 142). Thus, for species with physical seed dormancy, we recommend use of steepate conductivity and imbibition status after soaking for isolation of persistent seeds. These seeds can then be used to optimize experiments on mortality in the soil seedbank. Nondestructive tests for isolating persistent seeds of species characterized by physiological seed dormancy require further research.
Giant ragweed germination is delayed by both a physiological dormancy of the
embryo (embryo dormancy) and an inhibitory influence of embryo-covering
structures (covering structure-enforced [CSE] dormancy). To clarify the
roles of embryo and CSE dormancy in giant ragweed seedling emergence timing,
we conducted two experiments to address the following objectives: (1)
determine changes in germinability for giant ragweed dispersal units
(hereafter “involucres”) and their components under natural burial
conditions, and (2) compare embryo and CSE dormancy alleviation and
emergence periodicity between successional and agricultural populations. In
Experiment 1, involucres were buried in crop fields at Columbus, OH,
periodically excavated, and brought to the laboratory for dissection.
Involucres, achenes, and embryos were then subjected to germination assays
at 20 C. In Experiment 2, temporal patterns of seedling emergence were
determined at a common burial site. Reductions in embryo and CSE dormancy
were compared with controlled-environment stratification followed by
germination assays at 12 and 20 C, temperatures representative of soil
conditions in spring and summer. Results indicated that overwinter dormancy
loss involved sequential reductions in embryo and CSE dormancy. CSE
dormancy, which may limit potential for fatal germination during fall, was
caused by the pericarp and/or embryo-covering structures within the
pericarp. In Experiment 2, successional populations emerged synchronously in
early spring, whereas agricultural populations emerged throughout the
growing season. Levels of embryo dormancy were greater in the agricultural
populations than the successional populations, but CSE dormancy levels were
similar among populations. In 12 C germination assays, embryo dormancy
levels were positively correlated with time required to reach 95% cumulative
emergence (run 1: r = 0.81, P = 0.03; run 2:
r = 0.76, P = 0.05). These results suggest that
late-season emergence in giant ragweed involves high levels of embryo
dormancy that prevent germination at low temperatures in spring.
Palmer amaranth, a dioecious summer annual forb, originating in Sonoran desert washes, compromises crop yields in much of the southern United States and its range is expanding northward. Appropriate tactics for managing this weed proactively in the Upper Midwest will depend on characterizing its damage niche, the geographic range in which it can reduce crop yields. We implemented a common garden study in 2011 and 2012, planting eight accessions of Palmer amaranth from the southern and midwestern United States, into soybean crops in southern, central, and northern Illinois, at a population density of 8 plants m−2 with a biocontainment protocol. Once Palmer amaranth plants initiated flowering, they were removed and burned. Weed survival, flowering, and weed biomass were measured, in addition to soybean yield and weather data. Analyses indicated that Palmer amaranth's damage niche in Illinois soybean was independent of weed genotype or maternal environment. Despite competing only briefly, Palmer amaranth reduced soybean yields in all site–years, indicating its damage niche in Illinois, and much of the Midwest, is limited primarily by seed immigration rate. These results highlight the urgent need for weed managers to learn Palmer amaranth identification, prevent seed introduction, and maintain a policy of zero seed return.
Some plants being considered as bioenergy crops share traits with invasive species and have histories of spreading outside of their native ranges, highlighting the importance of evaluating the invasive potential before the establishment of large-scale plantings. The Asian grass Miscanthus × giganteus is currently being planted as a bioenergy crop in the north central region of the United States. Our goal was to understand the demographic rates and vegetative spread of this species in unmanaged arable lands in Illinois to compare with those of large-statured invasive grasses (LSIGs). We collected data from 13 M. × giganteus plantings in Illinois, ranging in age from 1 to 7 yr, recording tiller number, plant spatial extent, spikelet production, and plant survival over 4 yr. Additionally, to understand recruitment potential, we conducted a greenhouse germination experiment, and, to estimate establishment from rhizome fragments, field trials were performed. Miscanthus × giganteus demographic rates were age dependent. Spikelet production was high, with 1- and 4-yr plants producing an annual average of more than 10,000 and 180,000 spikelets plant−1, respectively; however, data from our germination trial suggested that none of these spikelets had the potential to yield seedlings. On average, plants expanded vegetatively 0.15 m yr−1. Tiller density within the center of a clone decreased with age, possibly leading to a “dead center” found among some LSIGs. Rhizome establishment increased with weight, ranging from 0 to 42%. Survival was low, 24%, for first-year plants but quickly climbed to an asymptote of 98% survival for 4-yr-old plants. Our results suggest that efforts should be made to eradicate plants that escape biomass production fields within a year of establishment, before the onset of high survival. Future work is needed to determine what types of natural and anthropogenic disturbances can fragment rhizomes, leading to regeneration.
Crop producers might be able to better manage field bindweed, an aggressive perennial weed, by utilizing tillage to bring roots to the surface where they can be consumed by ruminant livestock. The objectives of this study were to provide first perspectives on forage nutritive value of field bindweed roots and to determine root chemistry responses to Aceria malherbae, an eriophyid mite that has been released for field bindweed biocontrol in the western United States and Canada. To accomplish these objectives, root systems were sampled from A. malherbae-infested and noninfested plants occurring in an agricultural field in eastern New Mexico. Sampling took place during autumn and spring of each year for 3 consecutive yr. Results indicated that A. malherbae reduced taproot diameter and increased root concentrations of Ca, P, and Mg. However, A. malherbae did not affect root concentrations of acid detergent fiber, nonfiber carbohydrates, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), crude protein (CP), and total digestible nutrients (TDN). Overall means for NDF (33.8%), CP (11.6%), and TDN (72.1%) were similar to those reported for forages commonly grown in the region, suggesting that field bindweed roots might positively contribute to nutritional programs of ruminant livestock. These results justify subsequent studies on livestock responses to field bindweed roots and field bindweed responses to targeted root grazing.
Knowledge of environmental factors influencing demography of weed species will improve understanding of current and future weed invasions. The objective of this study was to quantify regional-scale variation in vital rates of giant ragweed and common sunflower. To accomplish this objective, a common field experiment was conducted across seven sites between 2006 and 2008 throughout the north central U.S. maize belt. Demographic parameters of both weed species were measured in intra- and interspecific competitive environments, and environmental data were collected within site-years. Site was the strongest predictor of belowground vital rates (summer and winter seed survival and seedling recruitment), indicating sensitivity to local abiotic conditions. However, biotic factors influenced aboveground vital rates (seedling survival and fecundity). Partial least squares regression (PLSR) indicated that demography of both species was most strongly influenced by thermal time and precipitation. The first PLSR components, both characterized by thermal time, explained 63.2% and 77.0% of variation in the demography of giant ragweed and common sunflower, respectively; the second PLSR components, both characterized by precipitation, explained 18.3% and 8.5% of variation, respectively. The influence of temperature and precipitation is important in understanding the population dynamics and potential distribution of these species in response to climate change.
Modification of the cropping environment to make weed seed more susceptible
to fatal germination or decay processes is based, in part, on the premise
that seed longevity is affected by the crop-influenced environment in which
seed is produced, hereafter, called the maternal crop
environment. The objective of this investigation was to
determine the influence of maternal crop environment on wild-proso millet
seed production, germinability, and seed coat tone (i.e., lightness), a
trait previously associated with seed longevity in wild-proso millet.
Maternal corn environments were established by growing wild-proso millet
plants in four morphologically different sweet corn hybrids in four
replicates over 2 yr. Wild-proso millet seed was collected at sweet corn
harvest, enumerated, characterized for seed coat tone, and tested for
germination. Principal component factor analysis reduced six sweet corn
traits measured between silking and harvest into a single maternal corn
environment factor that accounted for 84% of the variation among crop
canopies. Functional relationships between maternal corn environment factor
scores and wild-proso millet seed characteristics were clarified by fitting
linear models. For each unit decrease in maternal environment factor score,
wild-proso millet seed production increased 1,535 seed m−2,
germination increased 2.2%, and seed coat tone was 1.8% lighter. These
results show the size and germinability of wild-proso millet seed was
highest in less-competitive maternal corn environments characterized by a
short time to crop maturity and a small crop-canopy size.