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Rye residues contribute weed suppression in no-tillage cropping systems.

Journal of Chemical Ecology

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      The use of allelopathic cover crops in reduced tillage cropping systems may provide an ecologically sound and environmentally safe management strategy for weed control. Growers often plant winter rye (Secale cereale L.) for increased soil organic matter and soil protection. Spring-planted living rye reduced weed biomass by 93% over plots without rye. Residues of fall-planted/spring-killed rye reduced total weed biomass over bare-ground controls. Rye residues also reduced total weed biomass by 63% when poplar excelsior was used as a control for the mulch effect, suggesting that allelopathy, in addition to the physical effects of the mulch, did contribute to weed control in these systems. In greenhouse studies, rye root leachates reduced tomato dry weight by 25-30%, which is additional evidence that rye is allelopathic to other plant species.

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