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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Weed interference and weed control in cole crops and onion Bitterlich, Iris


Additive weed competition experiments were undertaken to study the effect of lamb's-quarters (Chenopodium album) interference on direct seeded broccoli. Lamb's-quarters (3, 8, 10, 12, and 15 plants m⁻²) began to affect broccoli growth 28 to 36 days after seeding. Decreases in crop growth increased with weed density as time after seeding increased. Yield data were fitted to a rectangular hyperbolic model which indicated that even one lamb's-quarters plant m⁻² could reduce total yield by 18 to 20 percent and marketable yield (head >10 cm across) by 22 to 37 percent. Lamb's-quarters reduced total yield by reducing average head weight and not by lowering the number of heads per plot. On the other hand, the weed reduced marketable yield by reducing both the average head weight and the number of heads per plot. The feasibility of using liquid ammonium nitrate as a post-emergent weed control spray in cole crops was studied. The relative susceptibility of different weed species grown by themselves (1989) and with two crops (broccoli and onion; 1987) to ammonium nitrate (800 L ha⁻¹; 0, 7.5, 10, 15, 20 percent N) burning was investigated. The fertilizer controlled shepherd's-purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), chickweed (Stellaria media), cudweed {Gnaphalium uliginosum), and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), but not lamb's-quarters, purslane (Portulaca oleracea), and annual bluegrass (Poa annua). Corn spurry (Spergula arvensis) varied in its tolerance. Although weed populations were reduced by 70 percent in 1987, the remaining weeds competed so strongly with the onion and broccoli that the crop plants did not reach a harvestable size. The large initial weed population (799 plants m⁻²), the large number of tolerant weeds present, and the possible recovery of some of the susceptible weeds may all have been factors responsible for crop failure. The effect of different shepherd's-purse densities (52 to 988 plants m⁻²) on the degree of ammonium nitrate (800 L ha⁻¹; 20 percent N) control in broccoli was also studied. The initial weed control achieved was reduced over time either because some weeds counted as dead had recovered or new plants were being recruited to the population through seed germination. Although the maximum density of shepherd's-purse plants that survived was 219 plants m⁻², these plants did not significantly reduce crop yield possibly because shepherd's-purse is not a very competitive species and all the surviving weeds had been damaged to varying degrees, further reducing their competitive ability. The relative susceptibility of various crop cultivars to ammonium nitrate (800 L ha⁻¹; 0, 10, 15, 20 percent N) burning was also studied. In 1987, the growth rates of 'Lunet' (Brussels sprouts), ‘SGI' (broccoli), 'Elgon' (cauliflower), and 'Matra' (cauliflower) initially decreased but the plants recovered; they were largely unaffected in 1988. The growth rates of 'White Lisbon' (onion), 'Emperor' (broccoli), and 'Early Marvel' (cabbage) were largely unaffected in either year. Although some cultivars had shown initial signs of lower growth rates, there was no decrease in crop yield. Leaf surfaces of tolerant and susceptible crop and weed species were examined by scanning electron microscopy to determine the basis of ammonium nitrate selectivity. Leaf surfaces of tolerant species were completely covered with a crystalline wax layer, while susceptible species had little or no epicuticular wax. Cellulose acetate was used to remove the epicuticular wax from cabbage leaves. The stripped leaves showed far greater ammonium nitrate retention and salt injury than unstripped leaves, demonstrating the importance of the epicuticular wax in providing protection against ammonium nitrate injury. Trichomes, observed on the leaf surfaces of some susceptible species, may further increase ammonium nitrate retention and, therefore, salt injury.

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