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1 March 2007 Comparative Nitrogen Uptake and Distribution in Corn and Velvetleaf (Abutilon Theophrasti)
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Weeds compete with crops for light, soil water, and nutrients. Nitrogen (N) is the primary limiting soil nutrient. Forecasting the effects of N on growth, development, and interplant competition requires accurate prediction of N uptake and distribution within plants. Field studies were conducted in 1999 and 2000 to determine the effects of variable N addition on monoculture corn and velvetleaf N uptake, the relationship between plant N concentration ([N]) and total biomass, the fraction of N partitioned to leaves, and predicted N uptake and leaf N content. Cumulative N uptake of both species was generally greater in 2000 than in 1999 and tended to increase with increasing N addition. Corn and velvetleaf [N] declined with increasing biomass in both years in a predictable manner. The fraction of N partitioned to corn and velvetleaf leaves varied with thermal time from emergence but was not influenced by year, N addition, or weed density. With the use of the [N]–biomass relationship to forecast N demand, cumulative corn N uptake was accurately predicted for three of four treatments in 1999 but was underpredicted in 2000. Velvetleaf N uptake was accurately predicted in all treatments in both years. Leaf N content (NL, g N m−2 leaf) was predicted by the fraction of N partitioned to leaves, predicted N uptake, and observed leaf area index for each species. Average deviations between predicted and observed corn NL were < 88 and 12% of the observed values in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Velvetleaf NL was less well predicted, with average deviations ranging from 39 to 248% of the observed values. Results of this research indicate that N uptake in corn and velvetleaf was driven primarily by biomass accumulation. Overall, the approaches outlined in this paper provide reasonable predictions of corn and velvetleaf N uptake and distribution in aboveground tissues.

Nomenclature: Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medic. ABUTH corn, Zea mays L. ‘Pioneer 33A14’.

John L. Lindquist, Darren C. Barker, Stevan Z. Knezevic, Alexander R. Martin, and Daniel T. Walters "Comparative Nitrogen Uptake and Distribution in Corn and Velvetleaf (Abutilon Theophrasti)," Weed Science 55(2), 102-110, (1 March 2007).
Received: 17 August 2006; Accepted: 1 November 2006; Published: 1 March 2007

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