Weeds and native plants should be considered when endeavoring to manage and control plant pathogens of cultivated plants. Whether as a pest itself, vector of a pathogen, or reservoir of a pathogen or its vector, weeds can significantly influence disease incidence. The relationship between these factors plays a critical role in determining disease incidence and impact. Weeds can interact with pathogen management in several ways, including provision of weed biological control, parasitic weeds can directly serve as vectors of plant pathogens, weeds can serve as reservoir alternative hosts for pathogens and vectors, weeds may be obligate alternate hosts for some pathogens, and herbicides used for weed control can interact with plant pathogens. A recent concern is the advent and deployment of plants genetically engineered for pathogen resistance, raising the question of “super weeds” resulting from genetic drift of genes from crops into surrounding weed populations, the impact of which has yet to be determined.
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Vol. 53 • No. 6