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10 September 2019 Spring-seeded cereal rye suppresses weeds in watermelon
Kurt M. Vollmer, Thierry E. Besançon, Baylee L. Carr, Mark J. VanGessel, Barbara A. Scott
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Weeds can cause significant yield loss in watermelon production systems. Commercially acceptable weed control is difficult to achieve, even with heavy reliance on herbicides. A study was conducted to evaluate a spring-seeded cereal rye cover crop with different herbicide application timings for weed management between row middles in watermelon production systems. Common lambsquarters and pigweed species (namely, Palmer amaranth and smooth pigweed) densities and biomasses were often lower with cereal rye compared with no cereal rye, regardless of herbicide treatment. The presence of cereal rye did not negatively influence the number of marketable watermelon fruit, but average marketable fruit weight in cereal rye versus no cereal rye treatments varied by location. These results demonstrate that a spring-seeded cereal rye cover crop can help reduce weed density and weed biomass, and potentially enhance overall weed control. Cereal rye alone did not provide full-season weed control, so additional research is needed to determine the best methods to integrate spring cover cropping with other weed management tactics in watermelon for effective, full-season control.

Nomenclature: Common lambsquarters, Chenopodium album L.; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson; smooth pigweed, Amaranthus hybridus L.; cereal rye, Secale cereale L.; watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai

© Weed Science Society of America, 2019.
Kurt M. Vollmer, Thierry E. Besançon, Baylee L. Carr, Mark J. VanGessel, and Barbara A. Scott "Spring-seeded cereal rye suppresses weeds in watermelon," Weed Technology 34(1), 42-47, (10 September 2019).
Received: 25 June 2019; Accepted: 1 October 2019; Published: 10 September 2019
cover crops
integrated weed management
plastic mulch
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