Ecology

Weed Control

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1405
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5534.1405b

Weed suppression in cropping systems is generally achieved by herbicides, mulching, or mechanical means, all of which add substantially to the costs of farming. As an alternative, Weiner et al.examined the effects of manipulating crop density and spatial distribution on weeds. Using several varieties of wheat, they found that weed suppression was greatest at high crop densities, and when crop plants were evenly distributed (rather than planted in rows). Among the different varieties of wheat, there was a tradeoff between the ability of the plants to compete at high versus low density. Thus, the development of high-density varieties, together with more uniform sowing distributions, might reduce reliance on other means of weed control and take advantage of the natural competitive abilities of plants. — AMS

J. Appl. Ecol.38, 784 (2001).

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