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Comparison of the critical period for weed control in wide- and narrow-row corn

  • Jason K. Norsworthy and Marcos J. Oliveira (a1)

Field studies were conducted near Blackville, SC, in 2002 and 2003 and near Pendleton, SC, in 2003 to compare the critical period for weed control (CPWC) in narrow- (48 cm) and wide-row (97 cm) corn. A series of treatments of increasing duration of weed interference and length of weed-free period were imposed within each row spacing. Diversity and density of the weed spectrum were greater at Blackville than at Pendleton. Weed interference duration and weed-free period curves were similar between row widths for each of the 3 site-years. Averaged over row width, the CPWC was 36 to 40 d longer at Blackville than at Pendleton. The CPWC began 5 to 9 d after corn emergence (DAE) (one- to two-leaf stage) and ended 45 to 53 DAE (eight- to 10-leaf stage) at Blackville. At Pendleton, the CPWC was only 4 d, beginning 21 DAE (five-leaf stage) and ending 25 DAE (five- to six-leaf stage). Light interception by corn at Blackville at the end of the CPWC averaged 78%, but light interception averaged only 31% at Pendleton at the end of the CPWC, implying that the weed density or weed spectrum may be more of a determinate of the CPWC than canopy formation. Light interception was similar between row widths throughout the growing season, resulting in similar late-season weed biomass between row widths. The CPWC and crop competitiveness with late-emerging weeds was similar between wide- and narrow-row corn when corn light interception did not differ between row widths. Therefore, other strategies, such as increasing the population of narrow-row corn, are likely needed to provide a competitive advantage over wider rows.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, Clemson University, 277 Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson, SC 29634;
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Weed Science
  • ISSN: 0043-1745
  • EISSN: 1550-2759
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