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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Investigation of biochemical and competitive effects of cover crops on crops and weeds

Rueda-Ayala, Victor; Jaeck, Ortrud; Gerhards, Roland


The weed suppressing ability and growth of 17 cover crops and undersown crops was evaluated in eleven pot and laboratory experiments. Weed suppression was greater using mulched cover crops than with undersown crops. Mulched cover crops had no effects on biomass of Hordeum vulgare and undersown crops decreased Triticum aestivum biomass in the pot experiments. Biochemical effects of various concentrations of aqueous cover crop root- and shoot-extracts were determined in the laboratory. Observed effects were inhibitory, hormetic, or combined on root growth of Lactuca sativa, Setaria viridis, Amaranthus retroflexus and Zea mays. Nonlinear dose-response functions fitted best to the data; more pronounced inhibitory effects occurred with highly concentrated plant extracts. Festuca rubra, Avena strigosa and Cannabis sativa were the cover crop species with the strongest inhibiting biochemical effect on L. sativa, maize and weeds. Active compounds and mode of action of biochemical are unknown and biochemicals from cover crop residues require research under field conditions. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Weed suppression; Plant growth stimulation; Dose-response; Integrated weed management; Allelopathy

Published in

Crop Protection
2015, Volume: 71, pages: 79-87

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)