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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Non-parasitic weeds

Author
item Boydston, Rick

Submitted to: Potato Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: April 21, 2008
Publication Date: May 11, 2008
Citation: Boydston, R. A. 2008. The Canon of Potato Science: 19. Non-parasitic Weeds. Potato Research 50:279-282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11540-008-9075-4.

Interpretive Summary: Weeds are unwanted plants that infest all agronomic crops and can lower crop yield and quality by competing for light, nutrients, water, and space. Weeds can also interfere with harvest operations. Weeds can be categorized based on their life cycle or grouped into families such as, grass, sedges, and broadleaves. The presence of weeds and the practices used to manage weeds affect most other aspects of potato production. Weeds can harbor other pests of potato including plant parasitic nematodes, plant pathogens, and insects. Weeds closely related to potato, such as nightshade species, are particularly troublesome as they often host many common disease, insect, and nematode pests associated with potato. Understanding factors that promote weed species and allow them to persist in crop rotations is key to designing cropping systems that discourage and reduce the impact of weeds. Certain weeds naturally become associated with particular crops because of similar life cycles, growth requirements, or herbicide tolerances. A diverse crop rotation discourages domination by any one weed species and provides the opportunity to control troublesome species during various portions of the rotation. Weeds are primarily managed with cultivation and herbicides in potato production. Cover crops and a diverse, well planned crop rotation can be helpful in reducing weeds in potato.

Technical Abstract: Weeds lower potato yield and quality by competing for light, nutrients, water, and space. Weeds can also interfere with harvest operations. Weeds can be categorized into annual, biennial, and perennial based on their life cycle. Perennial weeds live for three years or more and reproduce by various types of vegetative structures including stolons, creeping roots, rhizomes, tubers, and bulbs. Weeds can also be grouped into grass, sedges, and broadleaves. Potatoes that emerge from tubers left in the ground after harvest are also weeds and serve as hosts for insect pests and pathogens, and affect cultivar purity in subsequent crops. The presence of weeds and the practices used to manage weeds affect most other aspects of potato production including planting, hilling, fertility, irrigation, pest control, and harvest. Weeds can harbor other pests of potato including plant parasitic nematodes, plant pathogens, and insects. Weeds closely related to potato, such as Solanum species (nightshades) are particularly troublesome as they often host many common disease, insect, and nematode pests associated with potato. Several annual nightshade species have been identified as suitable host for TRV, potato leaf roll virus (PLRV), root knot nematodes (Melodogyne chitwoodi), stubby root nematodes (Paratrichodorus allius), and green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) and should be targeted for control in rotational crops. Understanding factors that promote weed species and allow them to persist in crop rotations is key to designing cropping systems that discourage and reduce the impact of weeds. Certain weeds naturally become associated with particular crops because of similar life cycles, growth requirements, or herbicide tolerances. A diverse crop rotation discourages domination by any one set of weed species and provides the opportunity to control troublesome species during various portions of the rotation. Competition from early season weeds will reduce yields if they are not controlled within 4 to 6 weeks after potatoes emerge. Weeds are primarily managed with cultivation and herbicides in potato production. Cover crops and a diverse, well planned crop rotation can be helpful in reducing weeds in potato. Rotating to winter annual crops, such as winter wheat, can help reduce common summer annual weeds prevalent in potato. Rotating to grass crops, such as wheat or corn often allow for more control options (selective herbicides and cultivation) for certain hard to control broadleaf weeds.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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