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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 2, p. 449-459
    Received: Oct 8, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): lgaston@agctr.lsu.edu
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Spatial Variability of Soil Properties and Weed Populations in the Mississippi Delta

  1. L.A. Gaston *a,
  2. M.A. Lockeb,
  3. R.M. Zablotowiczb and
  4. K.N. Reddyb
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, Louisiana State Univ. Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA, and formerly, USDA-ARS, SWSRU
    b USDA-ARS, Southern Weed Science Research Unit, Stoneville, MS


Simulation models and precision agriculture practices may require more detail and certainty about soil spatial variability than provided by soil surveys. This study described soil and weed spatial variability in 50-ha subareas of two sites included in the Mississippi Delta Management Systems Evaluation Areas project. Objectives were (i) to describe the spatial variability of soil properties and (ii) to determine relationships between spatially variable weed populations and soil properties. Surface soil samples were collected at nodes of 60-m square grids prior to planting cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in 1996. Field-moist soil was analyzed for microbial activity. Air-dried soil was used to determine soil organic C, pH, and texture. Fluometuron and either clomazone, metolachlor, or norflurazon were banded over the crop row at planting. Weed counts were taken 6 wk after herbicide application. The spatial variability of soil properties and weed populations was described using geostatistics. Soil microbiological activity exhibited limited spatial dependence, but pH, organic C, and texture semivariograms were well-described with spherical models. Although short-range (<60 m) variability was often high, the range of spatial dependence typically exceeded 120 m. Total weeds were spatially dependent both years; however, weeds susceptible to control by herbicide were not. Weed densities were significantly greater (P < 0.05) in areas that had higher organic C and finer texture. Areas of low organic C and coarse soil often had no weeds. Thus, more uniform weed control might be achieved by varying preemergence herbicide application rate. Acceptable weed control might be achieved with lower herbicide application rates in certain areas.

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Copyright © 2001. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.65:449–459.