Integrated effect of crop sowing date and herbicide stress on fitness of Bromus diandrus Roth
Bromus diandrus Roth is a common weed species that has increased in no-tillage dry-land cereal fields in NE Spain because of the limited control options. The fitness response of plants with different emergence times (ETs) and its influence on demography has huge implications in weed management. With this subject, three ETs (F1, F2 and F3) of B. diandrus were established through three crop-sowing dates (D1, Oct.; D2, Nov.; D3, Dec.) for each of the three years in a barley-wheat-wheat rotation. In barley, the herbicides applied were not specific for B. diandrus, whereas in wheat the specific herbicide mesosulfuron-methyl plus iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium was applied. Plant density after treatments and fitness characteristics were estimated for each weed ET. Weed density decreased for later ETs and fitness was density-dependent, showing significantly higher values when a non-specific herbicide was applied, except in number of caryopses per spikelet. The increasing fitness shown by plants with later ETs and the linear relationships of vegetative biomass vs reproductive biomass and fecundity were disrupted by the herbicide mesosulfuron-methyl plus iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium. Plants that had survived this herbicide when wheat was growing had lower values for all the characteristics analysed. After three seasons, as a consequence of decreasing seed recruitment, a practical depletion of the B. diandrus population was achieved in F2 and F3 (<2.8 and <1 plants/m2, respectively) but not in F1 (60.5 plants/m2). This study shows the importance of delayed crop sowing to optimize the control of B. diandrus in cereal fields with no tillage.
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