Weed suppressive ability of cover crops under water-limited conditions

https://doi.org/10.17221/516/2019-PSECitation:Schappert A., Linn A.I., Sturm D.J., Gerhards R. (2019): Weed suppressive ability of cover crops under water-limited conditions. Plant Soil Environ., 65: 541-548.
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The water demand for cover crops (CC) should be considered to achieve competitive crop stands for weed control also under unfavorable conditions. This study aims to estimate the weed suppressive ability of winter CC, as Sinapis alba L., Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth., Vicia sativa L. and Avena strigosa Schreb., under a water-limited regime. The water deficit tolerance of different CC was determined in a greenhouse experiment by measuring the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II. Moreover, soil moisture, CC, and weed establishment were measured in field experiments in Southwest-Germany during two contrasting growing seasons in 2016 and 2017. A. strigosa showed a higher water deficit tolerance than S. alba in the greenhouse. In the field, A. strigosa showed the highest weed cover reduction (98%) in the field, along with an increasing effect on the soil moisture compared to the untreated control. S. alba performed most sensitive to water deficit in the greenhouse but reached the significantly highest weed control efficacy (94%) during the dry field season in 2016. Even though the selected CC showed differing sensitivities to water deficit in the greenhouse, their weed suppression ability was independent of the water supply under field conditions.

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