Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 1001–1010 | Cite as

Exploitation of allelopathy for weed control in annual and perennial cropping systems

  • Alan R. Putnam
  • Joseph Defrank
  • Jane P. Barnes


A variety of crops, cultivars, and accessions have been evaluated over the past six years for superior capability to suppress weed growth. The most successful of these approaches has been to grow cover crops of rye (Secale cereale), wheat (Triticum aestivum), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), or barley (Hordeum vulgare) to a height of 40–50 cm, desiccate the crops by contact herbicides or freezing, and allow their residues to remain on the soil surface. Often, up to 95% control of important agroecosystem weed species was obtained for a 30- to 60-day period following desiccation of the cover crop. The plant residues on the soil surface exhibit numerous physical and chemical attributes that contribute to weed suppression. Physical aspects include shading and reduced soil temperatures which were similarly achieved using poplar (Populus) excelsior as a control mulch. Chemical aspects apparently include direct release of toxins, as well as production of phytotoxic microbial products. Numerous chemicals appear to work in concert or in an additive or synergistic manner to reduce weed germination and growth.

Key words

Rye wheat barley sorghum organic acids no-tillage crop residues 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan R. Putnam
    • 1
  • Joseph Defrank
    • 1
  • Jane P. Barnes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Horticulture, Pesticide Research CenterMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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