Studies were initiated at two different planting dates and conducted at two different locations in 2001 to determine the critical weed-free period for certain populations of weeds in organically produced ‘Beauregard’ sweetpotato. Naturally occurring weed populations were used, and they included sicklepod, redroot pigweed, and yellow nutsedge. Treatments included allowing weeds to grow for 2, 4, 6, or 8 wk after transplanting (WAT) sweetpotato before weed removal and maintaining the sweetpotato weed-free for 2, 4, 6, or 8 WAT. Weedy and weed-free checks were also included in the study. These treatments were used to determine the length of time weeds can compete with sweetpotato without reducing yield and the length of time sweetpotato must grow before yield is no longer affected by newly emerging weeds. Yield of number one grade sweetpotato roots best fit a quadratic plateau curve for the grow-back treatments and a logistic curve for the removal treatments. Yields in weed-free plots of sweetpotato were higher at the early planting date, whereas yields in plots of weedy sweetpotato were higher at the late planting date. Weed biomass was lower in the grow-back treatments at the late planting date. Data indicate that sweetpotato may gain a competitive advantage over weeds when planted at a later date. At both planting dates, a critical weed-free period of 2 to 6 WAT was observed.
Nomenclature: Redroot pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus L. #3 AMARE; sicklepod, Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin and Barneby # CASOB; yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L. # CYPES; sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. ‘Beauregard’.
Additional index words: Competition, interference, organic production, Brachiaria platyphylla, Eleusine indica, Mollugo verticillata, Sida spinosa, BRAPP, ELEIN, MOLVE, SIDSP.
Abbreviations: WAT, weeks after transplanting.