Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Weed Research 42:1 (2002), pp. 65–75; doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3180.2002.00263.x Copyright 2002 European Weed Research Society. Used by permission.


Selection of crop genotypes that are more competitive with weeds for light interception may improve crop yield stability in the presence of weeds. The effects of interference on ecophysiological characteristics of Abutilon theophrasti Medic. and three morphologically diverse grain sorghum hybrids was evaluated to determine the relative tolerance and suppressive ability of the three hybrids and specific traits that may contribute to those differences. A tall hybrid was more tolerant to A. theophrasti interference than two medium stature hybrids. Early leaf area growth of two medium-stature sorghum hybrids was reduced by A. theophrasti interference, whereas early growth of a tall hybrid was unaffected. The height of A. theophrasti was greater than two moderate-stature hybrids but lower than the tall hybrid. Greatest leaf area density (LD) of the tall sorghum hybrid was above that of A. theophrasti, whereas greatest LD of medium-stature hybrids was below that of the weed. In monoculture, the partitioning of new biomass to various plant organs was similar among sorghum hybrids, whereas the tall sorghum hybrid partitioned less biomass to leaves and more to stems than medium hybrids in mixture. The results indicate that the three hybrids differ in their susceptibility to A. theophrasti competition. Crop traits that may contribute to greater crop competitiveness include greater maximum height and its growth rate and greater height of maximum leaf area distribution.