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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Site-related set-back by weeds on the establishment of 12 biomass willow clones

Albertsson, Johannes; Hansson, David; Bertholdsson, Nils-Ove; Åhman, Inger


Ten commercial clones of willow and two breeding clones were studied for their ability to compete with weeds during the establishment year at three different sites in southern Sweden. Cuttings were planted according to commercial practice in April, and the two treatments, 'Weeded' and 'Unweeded', were laid out in a strip-plot design. Weeds in the 'Weeded' treatment were removed mechanically and by hand hoeing. Willow plant shoot weight and plant mortality were measured after the first growing season to evaluate the initial effect of weeds. In addition, weed flora, weed aboveground biomass, soil properties, shoot damage and soil moisture were assessed during the growing season. Plant mortality was <1% in the 'Weeded' treatment at the three study sites, while in 'Unweeded' it was significantly higher, 2.7%, 24.6% and 37.4%. Weeds reduced willow plant shoot weight by 93.4%, 94.0% and 96.1% at the three sites. Only one site showed clonal differences in shoot growth reduction, as well as in plant mortality. These results show the importance of weed control in willow plantations, as growth of all clones tested were dramatically hampered by weeds during the first growing season, regardless of trial site conditions. Moreover, conditions at certain sites, such as soil properties in combination with weed cover, may cause high plant mortality during the establishment year in this perennial biomass crop.


bioenergy; biomass; growth reduction; plant mortality; Salix; short-rotation coppice; weed competition

Published in

Weed Research
2014, volume: 54, number: 4, pages: 398-407

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, VÄXTFÖRÄDLING, Box 101
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Bertholdsson, Nils-Ove
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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