Experiments were conducted in controlled environments and in the field on winter-hardy Triticum aestivum and three weed species commonly found in cereal fields in the United Kingdom to examine whether overwinter shoot growth of individual plants could be described by accumulated thermal time calculated using base temperatures derived from growth cabinets. Individuals of each species were grown in a controlled environment at constant temperatures ranging from 5 to 20 C and harvested sequentially. Base temperatures for the increase of dry weight and green area were estimated by fitting a simple linear model describing growth in response to the thermal sum. The estimated base temperatures for shoot dry matter accumulation of Alopecurus myosuroides, Stellaria media, Galium aparine, and T. aestivum were −0.8, −3.3, −1.4, and 0.2 C, respectively, and estimated base temperatures for increase in green area were 0.4, −1.7, 1.9, and 2.2 C, respectively. Each species also was grown in monoculture in the field over 2 yr at a range of sites to examine whether the base temperatures estimated from the controlled environment studies could be used to model weed and crop growth in response to thermal time in the field. The field data were described well when an expolinear function was fitted to accumulated thermal time calculated using the base temperatures derived from the controlled environment studies.
Nomenclature: Alopecurus myosuroides Huds. ALOMY, blackgrass; Stellaria media L. STEME, chickweed; Galium aparine L. GALAP, catchweed bedstraw = cleavers; Triticum aestivum var. aestivum L. ‘Mercia’, winter wheat.