The main study objective was to measure the effects of tillage (moldboard plow, chisel plow, and no-till) and weed management (intensive, moderate, and minimum) on weeds and crops in a spring barley monoculture compared with a spring barley–red clover rotation. The study was initiated in 1987 and conducted at two sites. Residual effects of treatments were measured in a wheat test crop at the loam site in 1994 and at the clay site in 1995–1996. Weed seed bank densities ranged from less than 300 to nearly 30,000 seeds m−2 and plant densities from 30 to 6,000 plants m−2. Seven species were recorded on average per plot aboveground and 10 species per plot in the seed bank. Species number in the seed bank varied little with treatments compared with species numbers aboveground. Crop rotation and tillage had little effect on weed species diversity but affected relative species dominance. The presence and abundance of species was also influenced by their degree of tolerance to the herbicides used in each system. Annual dicots largely dominated in minimum weed management treatments. Their relative importance in each rotation varied with their level of susceptibility to the different postemergence herbicides. Perennials were not exclusively found in reduced tillage systems. The relationship between perennials and tillage was dependent on the response of perennating structures to the type and frequency of soil disturbance. For example, quackgrass dominated in chisel and moldboard plow systems where rhizomes would be frequently fragmented. Field horsetail, also a rhizomatous species, dominated in the monoculture/direct-seeded no-till treatment under minimum weed management. Its absence from the rotation was explained by the regular removal of aboveground biomass during the forage production year. Overall, weed response was regulated by agronomic factors but was largely determined by specific biological attributes and environmental conditions.
Nomenclature: Field horsetail, Equisetum arvense L. EQUAR; quackgrass, Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski AGRRE; barley, Hordeum vulgare L. HORVX; red clover, Trifolium pratense L. TRFPR; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.