Effect of Rhizome Fragmentation, Clover Competition, Shoot-Cutting Frequency, and Cutting Height on Quackgrass (Elymus repens)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonWeed science. 2017, . 10.1017/wsc.2017.65
Quackgrass is a problematic agricultural weed in the temperate zones of the world and is difficult to control without herbicides or intensive tillage. However, it may be possible to control quackgrass with less environmental impact by combining multiple low-intensity control methods. A pot experiment was conducted in July to October 2012 and repeated in June to September 2013 to investigate the effect of rhizome fragmentation, competition from white clover, shoot-cutting frequency, and cutting height on quackgrass. Rhizome fragmentation was expected to result in more, but weaker, quackgrass shoots that would be more vulnerable to shoot cutting and competition. However, by 20 d past planting, rhizome fragmentation did not change the total number of quackgrass shoots per pot, because an increase in main shoots was offset by a decrease in tiller numbers. Rhizome fragmentation did not reduce quackgrass biomass acquisition during the experimental period. Although rhizome fragmentation did reduce total fructan content, it did not enhance the effect of clover competition, shoot-cutting frequency, or shoot-cutting height. Clover competition by itself reduced quackgrass shoot numbers by 72%, rhizome biomass by 81%, and belowground fructan concentration by 10 percentage points, compared with no competition. The more frequently quackgrass shoots were cut, the less biomass quackgrass acquired, and a high shoot-cutting frequency (each time quackgrass reached 2 leaves) resulted in a lower belowground fructan concentration than a low shoot-cutting frequency (at 8 leaves). However, in pots without competition, a higher shoot-cutting frequency resulted in more quackgrass shoots. A lower shoot-cutting height (25 mm) had more impact when shoot cutting was more frequent. In conclusion, rhizome fragmentation did not reduce the number of quackgrass shoots or rhizome biomass, but competition from white clover, a high shoot-cutting frequency, and a low shoot-cutting height strongly suppressed quackgrass biomass and fructan acquisition.