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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 3, p. 321-325
    Received: Aug 4, 1971

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Noncompetitive Effects of Giant Foxtail on the Growth of Corn1

  1. David T. Bell and
  2. D. E. Koeppe2



Weed infestations severely reduce the yield grown corn with such yield reductions generally being attributed to competition. Noncompetitive (allelopathic) mechanisms have to date, however, received little consideration in agronomic situations. In the greenhouse, interference (competition + allelopathy) of the growth of corn (Zea mays L. Wf9 ✕ M14) by giant foxtail (Setaria faberii Herrm.) was determined in mixed culture treatments. When corn was seeded into pots with 6-week-old giant foxtail, corn height, fresh weight, and dry weight were reduced by as much as 90% when compared to comparable plants grown in monoculture. Competitive and allelopathic mechanisms were separated through the use of a stairstep apparatus, in which a nutrient solution passed through the rhizosphere of giant foxtail, into the rhizosphere of corn and was subsequently recycled through the system. The stairstep apparatus was used to determine the allelopathic interactions between corn and giant foxtail seedlings, mature giant foxtail, whole dead giant foxtail plants, and mascerated dead giant foxtail leaf and root material. Mature giant foxtail inhibited the growth of corn approximately 35% through an allelopathic mechanism. Elimination of competition .through the use of stairsteps apparatus implicates a possible allelopathic mechanism in the interference of corn by giant foxtail that involves the exudation and leaching of phytotoxins from the roots of giant foxtail. Phytotoxins leached from dead giant foxtail reduced corn growth by as much as 50%. The relationships of allelopathy to competition, crop rotation, herbicidal activity, and physiological processes are discussed.

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