Utilization of allelopathy for weed management in agroecosystems

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    Abstract

    Biorational alternatives are gaining increased attention for weed control because of concerns related to pesticide usage and dwindling numbers of labeled products, particularly for minor-use crops. Allelopathy offers potential for biorational weed control through the production and release of allelochemics from leaves, flowers, seeds, stems, and roots of living or decomposing plant materials. Under appropriate conditions, allelochemics may be released in quantities suppressive to developing weed seedlings. Allelochemics often exhibit selectivity, similar to synthetic herbicides. Two main approaches have been investigated for allelopathic weed suppression. One is use of living rotational crops or mulches that interfere with the growth of surrounding weeds [e.g., tall red rescue, Festuca arundinacea Schreb.; creeping red rescue, F. rubra L. subsp. commutata; asparagus. Asparagus officinalis L. var. altilis); sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench; alfalfa, Medicago sativa L.; black mustard, Brassica nigra (L.) Koch; and oat, Avena saliva L.]. Attempts to select germplasm with enhanced suppressive ability have been limited. The second is use of cover crop residues or living mulches to suppress weed growth for variable lengths of time (e.g., winter rye, Secale cereale L.; winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L.; and sorghum). Cover crop residues may selectively provide weed suppression through their physical presence on the soil surface and by release of allelochemics or microbially altered allelochemics. The ability to understand the physiological basis for allelopathy in a crop plant may allow the weed scientist or ecologist to work closely with molecular biologists or traditional plant breeders to selectively enhance the traits responsible for weed suppression.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)860-866
    Number of pages7
    JournalAgronomy Journal
    Volume88
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1996

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