Special Issue "Weed Ecology and Management"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Protection".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jordi Recasens
Website
Guest Editor
Dept. Horticulture, Botany and Landscaping, Agrotecnio Center, Universitat de Lleida 25002 Lleida, Spain
Interests: weed ecology; IWM; herbicide resistance; invasive weed species; sustainable weed control; ecosystem services

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Weeds are typically associated with crops based on their harmfulness and infestation capacity. However, these crop-weed relationships are constantly evolving and the strategic vision of weed control has undergone marked changes in recent decades. The excessive selection pressure exerted by herbicides has generated a scenario where resistance is present in weed species throughout the world. Furthermore, many of the processes involved in the appearance of resistance mechanisms are not entirely clear, nor are the physiological processes derived from them. This scenario, together with the growing persistence of infestations, is forcing us to rethink integrated weed management (IWM) programs more than ever.

The implementation of an IWM program requires in depth knowledge about the biology and ecology of the species to be controlled. This knowledge must be supported by robust models that allow for predicting population behavior (i.e. germination, growth and competition) and weed response to different control methods, as well as the development of decision support systems. There are equally as interesting eco-innovative contributions for organic farming that include a range of physical and cultural control methods, as well as the study of the allelopathic effect of natural substances. The strategic vision of the role of weeds in agricultural systems and the rise of studies about the ecosystem services they provide (such as favoring the presence of seed predators, pollinators or acting as an auxiliary wildlife refuge), creates also an interesting scenario of study in which ecology, agronomy and conservation biology converge.

In this Special Issue, we welcome the submission of scientific articles focused on weed ecology and management, and that intend to answer fundamental questions about what makes a weed a weed, and the ever-changing ecosystem services they supply. Most importantly, there is the need to address applied questions regarding the design of sustainable weed management systems.

Prof. Dr. Jordi Recasens
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • weed ecology
  • weed control
  • herbicides
  • herbicide resistance
  • integrated weed management
  • allelochemicals
  • cover crops
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Ecological Specialization and Rarity of Arable Weeds: Insights from a Comprehensive Survey in France
Plants 2020, 9(7), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070824 - 30 Jun 2020
Abstract
: The definition of “arable weeds” remains contentious. Although much attention has been devoted to specialized, segetal weeds, many taxa found in arable fields also commonly occur in other habitats. The extent to which adjacent habitats are favorable to the weed flora and [...] Read more.
: The definition of “arable weeds” remains contentious. Although much attention has been devoted to specialized, segetal weeds, many taxa found in arable fields also commonly occur in other habitats. The extent to which adjacent habitats are favorable to the weed flora and act as potential sources of colonizers in arable fields remains unclear. In addition, weeds form assemblages with large spatiotemporal variability, so that many taxa in weed flora are rarely observed in plot-based surveys. We thus addressed the following questions: How often do weeds occur in other habitats than arable fields? How does including field edges extend the taxonomic and ecological diversity of weeds? How does the weed flora vary across surveys at different spatial and temporal scales? We built a comprehensive dataset of weed taxa in France by compiling weed flora, lists of specialized segetal weeds, and plot-based surveys in agricultural fields, with different spatial and temporal coverages. We informed life forms, biogeographical origins and conservation status of these weeds. We also defined a broader dataset of plants occupying open habitats in France and assessed habitat specialization of weeds and of other plant species absent from arable fields. Our results show that many arable weeds are frequently recorded in both arable fields and non-cultivated open habitats and are, on average, more generalist than species absent from arable fields. Surveys encompassing field edges included species also occurring in mesic grasslands and nitrophilous fringes, suggesting spill-over from surrounding habitats. A total of 71.5% of the French weed flora was not captured in plot-based surveys at regional and national scales, and many rare and declining taxa were of Mediterranean origin. This result underlines the importance of implementing conservation measures for specialist plant species that are particularly reliant on arable fields as a habitat, while also pointing out biotic homogenization of agricultural landscapes as a factor in the declining plant diversity of farmed landscapes. Our dataset provides a reference species pool for France, with associated ecological and biogeographical information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Allelopathic Effects of Bidens pilosa L. var. radiata Sch. Bip. on the Tuber Sprouting and Seedling Growth of Cyperus rotundus L.
Plants 2020, 9(6), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060742 - 12 Jun 2020
Abstract
Bidens pilosa L. var. radiata Sch. Bip. (BPr) had been found capable of excluding Cyperus rotundus L. (CR) from its vegetation in fallow fields. Both allelopathy and competition of BPr were able to limit the growth of CR, [...] Read more.
Bidens pilosa L. var. radiata Sch. Bip. (BPr) had been found capable of excluding Cyperus rotundus L. (CR) from its vegetation in fallow fields. Both allelopathy and competition of BPr were able to limit the growth of CR, but this has not been extensively investigated. To verify the two effects of BPr on CR management, density-dependent experiments and interspecies competitions with the application of activated carbon were conducted. The effects of BPr soil and its residues on the reproduction of CR were also evaluated. The results showed that the residues of BPr reduced the growth (54–61% of control) and tuber number (58–71% of control) of CR in the 3 plants pot−1 treatment but not in higher density treatments. In the interspecies competition, BPr exhibited an allelopathic but not competitive effect on CR when activated carbon was absent. CR tuber sprouting was significantly suppressed when sowed in the BPr soil. Likewise, BPr residue mulch inhibited the CR plant density by 87% as compared to natural-occurring CR residue mulch in the field. This study revealed that BPr might have potential for use as a cover plant and allelopathic mulch to control CR in the agroecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Weed Functional Diversity as Affected by Agroecological Service Crops and No-Till in a Mediterranean Organic Vegetable System
Plants 2020, 9(6), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060689 - 28 May 2020
Abstract
This paper explores the effect of agroecological service crops (ASCs), i.e., crops included in the crop rotation for their ecosystem services, terminated with an in-line tillage roller crimper (ILRC) on weed community composition and their functional traits in comparison to a tilled control [...] Read more.
This paper explores the effect of agroecological service crops (ASCs), i.e., crops included in the crop rotation for their ecosystem services, terminated with an in-line tillage roller crimper (ILRC) on weed community composition and their functional traits in comparison to a tilled control without ASC. A two-year study was performed in a long-term experiment with vegetables under organic management. Four different cereal crops were introduced as ASCs. Weed abundance and richness and the functional traits were assessed at three different stages, i.e., before and after ASC termination and before harvest of the following crop, melon. All the ASCs showed strong weed suppression, with few differences between the cereals tested. Weed communities with ASCs had later flowering onset and wider flowering span compared to the control, which positively affects weed dispersal and attraction of beneficial insects. However, weed communities with ASCs had higher values for traits related to competition (specific leaf area, seed weight and more perennials). A trade-off between weed suppression and selection of more competitive weed communities by the introduction of ASCs managed with the ILRC should be evaluated in the long-run. The use of the ILRC alternating with other soil management practices seems the more effective strategy to benefit from the minimal soil tillage while avoiding the selection of disservice-related traits in the weed community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Creating Predictive Weed Emergence Models Using Repeat Photography and Image Analysis
Plants 2020, 9(5), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050635 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
Weed emergence models have the potential to be important tools for automating weed control actions; however, producing the necessary data (e.g., seedling counts) is time consuming and tedious. If similar weed emergence models could be created by deriving emergence data from images rather [...] Read more.
Weed emergence models have the potential to be important tools for automating weed control actions; however, producing the necessary data (e.g., seedling counts) is time consuming and tedious. If similar weed emergence models could be created by deriving emergence data from images rather than physical counts, the amount of generated data could be increased to create more robust models. In this research, repeat RGB images taken throughout the emergence period of Raphanus raphanistrum L. and Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin and Barneby underwent pixel-based spectral classification. Relative cumulative pixels generated by the weed of interest over time were used to model emergence patterns. The models that were derived from cumulative pixel data were validated with the relative emergence of true seedling counts. The cumulative pixel model for R. raphanistrum and S. obtusifolia accounted for 92% of the variation in relative emergence of true counts. The results demonstrate that a simple image analysis approach based on time-dependent changes in weed cover can be used to generate weed emergence predictive models equivalent to those produced based on seedling counts. This process will help researchers working on weed emergence models, providing a new low-cost and technologically simple tool for data collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Efficiency, Profitability and Carbon Footprint of Different Management Programs under No-Till to Control Herbicide Resistant Papaver rhoeas
Plants 2020, 9(4), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040433 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The present work examines the effects of different integrated weed management (IWM) programs on multiple herbicide-resistant Papaver rhoeas populations in terms of effectiveness, profitability and carbon footprint. With this aim a trial was established in a winter cereal field under no-till in North-Eastern [...] Read more.
The present work examines the effects of different integrated weed management (IWM) programs on multiple herbicide-resistant Papaver rhoeas populations in terms of effectiveness, profitability and carbon footprint. With this aim a trial was established in a winter cereal field under no-till in North-Eastern Spain during three consecutive seasons. Four IWM programs with different intensification levels, from less (crop rotation, mechanical control, and no herbicides) to more intense (wheat monoculture with high chemical inputs), were established. The different strategies integrated in the four programs were efficient in managing the weed after three years, with increased effectiveness after management program intensification. Whereas low input program (which includes fallow season) represented less economic cost than the other programs, on average, no differences were observed on carbon foot print, considered as kg CO2eq kg−1 product, between the different programs, except in the crop rotation program due to the low pea yield obtained. The results from this study show that in the search for a balance between crop profitability and reduction of the carbon footprint while controlling an herbicide resistant population is challenging, and particularly under no-till. In this scenario the short term priority should be to reduce the presence of multiple herbicide resistant biotypes integrating the different available chemical, cultural, and physical strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
Open AccessArticle
Emergence Patterns of Rare Arable Plants and Conservation Implications
Plants 2020, 9(3), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030309 - 01 Mar 2020
Abstract
Knowledge on the emergence patterns of rare arable plants (RAP) is essential to design their conservation in Europe. This study hypothesizes that is possible to find functional groups with similar emergence patterns within RAP with the aim of establishing management strategies. Seeds of [...] Read more.
Knowledge on the emergence patterns of rare arable plants (RAP) is essential to design their conservation in Europe. This study hypothesizes that is possible to find functional groups with similar emergence patterns within RAP with the aim of establishing management strategies. Seeds of 30 different species were collected from Spanish arable fields and sown under two tillage treatments: (a) 1 cm depth without soil disturbance to simulate no-till, and (b) 1–10 cm depth with soil disturbance every autumn to simulate tillage to 10 cm depth. Two trials were established; the first trial being maintained for three seasons and the second for two seasons. Relative emergence in autumn, winter and spring was calculated each season. Afterwards, multivariate analysis was performed by K-means clustering and Principal Component Analysis to find groups of RAP species with similar emergence patterns. Four RAP groups were defined, and each was based on its main emergence season: autumn, winter, spring, or autumn-winter. Tillage treatment and the year of sowing had little effect on emergence patterns, which were mostly dependent on environmental factors, particularly temperature and rainfall. Therefore, conservation strategies could be designed for each of these RAP functional groups based on emergence patterns, rather than on a species-by-species basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Adjuvant on Glyphosate Effectiveness, Retention, Absorption and Translocation in Lolium rigidum and Conyza canadensis
Plants 2020, 9(3), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030297 - 01 Mar 2020
Abstract
Glyphosate retention, absorption and translocation with and without adjuvant were examined in Lolium rigidum and Conyza canadensis in greenhouse and laboratory settings to develop an understanding of the influence of the selected adjuvant on glyphosate activity. Tests on whole plants show that the [...] Read more.
Glyphosate retention, absorption and translocation with and without adjuvant were examined in Lolium rigidum and Conyza canadensis in greenhouse and laboratory settings to develop an understanding of the influence of the selected adjuvant on glyphosate activity. Tests on whole plants show that the dose of herbicide needed to reduce dry weight by 50% (GR50) or plant survival (LD50) decreases by mixing glyphosate and adjuvant to 22%–24% and 42%–44% for both populations of L. rigidum and C. canadensis, respectively. This improvement in efficacy could be attributed to the higher herbicide retention and lower contact angle of the glyphosate + adjuvant drops on the leaf surface compared to the glyphosate solution alone. Plants of both species treated with 14C-glyphosate + adjuvant absorbed more glyphosate compared to non-adjuvant addition. Furthermore, the movement of the herbicide through the plant was faster and greater with the adjuvant. Our results reveal that the use of adjuvants improves the effectiveness of glyphosate in two of the most important weeds in agricultural crops in Mediterranean countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Phytotoxic Potential of the Flowering Foliage of Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius), as Pre-Emergent Weed Control in Maize in a Glasshouse Pot Experiment
Plants 2020, 9(2), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020203 - 06 Feb 2020
Abstract
In our previous studies, the phytotoxicity of Ulex europaeus (gorse) and Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) was demonstrated in vitro and argued to be caused by the release of volatile and water-soluble compounds from fresh plant foliage. In light of these positive results, there [...] Read more.
In our previous studies, the phytotoxicity of Ulex europaeus (gorse) and Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) was demonstrated in vitro and argued to be caused by the release of volatile and water-soluble compounds from fresh plant foliage. In light of these positive results, there was a need to test the effects ex vitro. In this work, gorse and Scotch broom were used as soil amendments in pot experiments in a glasshouse by incorporating slashed plant material into the soil at a ratio of 1% w/w on a dry mass basis. The phytotoxic effects on the emergence and early growth of maize and five accompanying weed species were analyzed, as were the effect on soil fertility and soil community-level physiological profiles. Thirty days after incorporation, significant decreases in weed density of 32.2% and 59.5% were found for gorse and Scotch broom soil amendments, respectively. Gorse soil amendment was notably effective impairing the establishment of Amaranthus retroflexus and diminishing the plant height of Digitaria sanguinalis and Portulaca oleracea. Scotch broom soil amendment was capable of significantly inhibiting the emergence of D. sanguinalis, Convolvulus arvensis, P. oleracea, and A. retroflexus, with a notable reduction of weed biomass. No undesirable side effects on maize crop or soil quality, including microbial activity, were detected. Our results suggest that the incorporation of gorse and Scotch broom foliage is promising for pre-emergent weed control in maize; however, field trials that support and expand these glasshouse results are essential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Pasture Cropping a Valid Weed Management Tool?
Plants 2020, 9(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020135 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of the present work was to study the feasibility of pasture cropping under the Mediterranean conditions prevailing in central Spain and its potential as a weed management tool. Three cropping systems were assessed: conventionally grown winter barley and winter barley in [...] Read more.
The aim of the present work was to study the feasibility of pasture cropping under the Mediterranean conditions prevailing in central Spain and its potential as a weed management tool. Three cropping systems were assessed: conventionally grown winter barley and winter barley in pasture cropping with two perennial summer species, Cynodon dactylon and Eragrostis curvula. The results showed that the growth of these two species in a pasture cropping system was limited by the severe drought conditions and high temperatures present during the summer in some of the study years. Although there were no differences in the establishment of winter barley in any of the treatments assessed, pasture cropping reduced winter barley yields up to 50%–60% in years with low rainfall in spring. Regarding weed control, pasture cropping showed a significant suppression of the total weed density and number of weed species. As a conclusion, pasture cropping can be considered as a valid weed management tool. However, the economic feasibility of this system under the climatic conditions of central Spain (characterized by a high risk of severe summer droughts) is still not clear. The availability of supplemental irrigation may reduce competition between pastures and winter crops and ensure a profitable production of summer pastures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Organic Mulching and Irrigation on the Weed Species Composition and the Soil Weed Seed Bank of Tomato
Plants 2020, 9(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010066 - 03 Jan 2020
Abstract
Mulching is a management technique to control weeds in organic and integrated tomato production. Our experiment was designed to investigate the impact of organic mulch combined with irrigation on the weed species composition and weed seed bank of open-field tomato. For three consecutive [...] Read more.
Mulching is a management technique to control weeds in organic and integrated tomato production. Our experiment was designed to investigate the impact of organic mulch combined with irrigation on the weed species composition and weed seed bank of open-field tomato. For three consecutive years (2016–2018), treatment of microplots included mulch only, irrigation only, mulch and irrigation combined, and the untreated control. Marginal microplots (bordered by the surrounding mown grassland) were distinguished from inner microplots to check margin effect. We collected soil samples from different depths and let the weed seeds germinate in a greenhouse. Germinated weed seedlings were counted and identified. The number of weeds, and time needed for weeding was reduced by mulching, temperature, sampling date, and the succession of the study years. Irrigation, on the other hand, had no effect on weeding time. Margin effect and year had the highest influence on weed species composition. Regarding seed bank, year and mulching had the highest influence. The importance of other variables remained low, with mulching being the strongest explained variable. Regardless of treatments, weed composition of the study area was transformed during the three-year study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Which Traits Make Weeds More Successful in Maize Crops? Insights from a Three-Decade Monitoring in France
Plants 2020, 9(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010040 - 25 Dec 2019
Abstract
A major aim in invasion biology is identifying traits distinguishing alien invasive and alien non-invasive plants. Surprisingly, this approach has been, so far, poorly used to understand why some arable weeds are abundant and widespread while others are rare and narrowly distributed. In [...] Read more.
A major aim in invasion biology is identifying traits distinguishing alien invasive and alien non-invasive plants. Surprisingly, this approach has been, so far, poorly used to understand why some arable weeds are abundant and widespread while others are rare and narrowly distributed. In the present study, we focused on the characteristics of successful weeds occurring in maize fields, one of the most important crops worldwide. Two national weed surveys conducted in France were used to identify increasing and decreasing species based on 175 and 484 surveyed fields in the 1970s and the 2000s, respectively. Weed trait values related to regional frequency, local abundance, and specialization to maize were identified with phylogenetic generalized least-squares (PGLS). We found a positive relationship between regional frequency and local abundance, i.e., the most widespread weeds were also locally more abundant. We highlighted that weeds with the C4 photosynthetic pathway and summer emergence were more abundant, more frequent, and more specialized to maize crops. More generally, we highlighted two successful strategies: On the one hand, traits related to a general weediness syndrome with rapid resource acquisition (high SLA and Ellenberg-N) and high colonization capacity (seed longevity, fecundity, and wind dispersal); on the other hand, traits related to specific adaptation to spring cultivation (thermophilous species with summer emergence, late flowering, and C4 photosynthetic pathway). Deviations from the abundancy–frequency relationships also indicated that species of the Panicoideae sub-family, species with Triazine-resistant populations, and neophyte species were more abundant than expected by their regional frequency. To some extent, it is therefore possible to predict which species can be troublesome in maize crops and use this information in weed risk assessment tools to prevent new introductions or favor early detection and eradication. This study showed how tools developed in functional and macro-ecology can be used to improve our understanding of weed ecology and to develop more preventive management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and Management)
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