Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Agronomy Journal 99 (2007), pp. 1066-1072. Published by American Society of Agronomy.


Crop planting date and canopy density influence interactions between weeds and sweet corn (Zea mays L.); however, little is known about sweet corn growth response to weed interference. Field studies were conducted in 2004 and 2005 near Urbana, IL, to quantify the influence of planting date and weed interference on growth of sweet corn height, leaf area, aboveground biomass, and phenological development. Crop growth response to weed interference (presence or absence) was determined for sweet corn planted early May (EARLY) and late June (LATE). Dominant weed species included barnyard-grass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv.], common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.), common purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), green foxtail [Setaria viridus (L.) Beauv.], redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), and velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medicus) at densities ranging from 95 to 256 plants m-2. Weed interference reduced sweet corn’s absolute height growth rate, maximum leaf area index (LAI), absolute LAI growth rate, with some of the largest effects on crop growth observed in the EARLY planting date. Silk emergence was delayed by weeds for EARLY planted sweet corn, but not LATE. Moreover, the LATE planting date resulted in 9% taller crop plants with 36% lower maximum LAI. Relative to an EARLY planting date, lower yield losses due to weeds for LATE sweet corn correspond to greater resiliency of crop growth and silk emergence to weed interference.