Weekly defoliation controls, but does not kill broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)

F.K. Evert, M. Cockburn, J.E. Beniers, R. Latsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius L.) is a troublesome weed that predominantly grows in pastures and grassland. We hypothesised that frequent defoliation of Rumex will, over time, result in a reduction in root weight and leaf area, to the point where the impact on grass production is negligible. In order to investigate this hypothesis, we conducted three experiments. The objective of the first experiment was to perform a preliminary test of the hypothesis, using potted plants growing in the controlled conditions of a glasshouse. This experiment showed a rapid decline in leaf growth in plants that were defoliated weekly. The objective of the second experiment was to test the hypothesis in realistic outdoor conditions while still being able to collect detailed plant growth information. This experiment confirmed the findings of the glasshouse experiment and provided evidence that leaf growth ceased as a result of a dwindling supply of carbohydrate reserves in the root. Defoliated plants did not exhibit increased mortality. Finally, the objective of the third experiment was to test the hypothesis in a commercial pasture where normal field operations, specifically grass harvesting (three times) and slurry injection (twice), were performed. The results of this experiment were consistent with the results of the other two experiments. We conclude that weekly defoliation, maintained for three or more months, is an effective method to control (reduce the impact on grass production), but not kill, R. obtusifolius in pasture.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalWeed Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2020

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Rumex obtusifolius
defoliation
pastures
grasses
plant growth
greenhouses
Rumex
container-grown plants
experiment
testing
leaves
pasture
leaf area
grasslands
weeds
grass
injection
carbohydrates
slurry
weed

Cite this

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title = "Weekly defoliation controls, but does not kill broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)",
abstract = "Broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius L.) is a troublesome weed that predominantly grows in pastures and grassland. We hypothesised that frequent defoliation of Rumex will, over time, result in a reduction in root weight and leaf area, to the point where the impact on grass production is negligible. In order to investigate this hypothesis, we conducted three experiments. The objective of the first experiment was to perform a preliminary test of the hypothesis, using potted plants growing in the controlled conditions of a glasshouse. This experiment showed a rapid decline in leaf growth in plants that were defoliated weekly. The objective of the second experiment was to test the hypothesis in realistic outdoor conditions while still being able to collect detailed plant growth information. This experiment confirmed the findings of the glasshouse experiment and provided evidence that leaf growth ceased as a result of a dwindling supply of carbohydrate reserves in the root. Defoliated plants did not exhibit increased mortality. Finally, the objective of the third experiment was to test the hypothesis in a commercial pasture where normal field operations, specifically grass harvesting (three times) and slurry injection (twice), were performed. The results of this experiment were consistent with the results of the other two experiments. We conclude that weekly defoliation, maintained for three or more months, is an effective method to control (reduce the impact on grass production), but not kill, R. obtusifolius in pasture.",
author = "F.K. Evert and M. Cockburn and J.E. Beniers and R. Latsch",
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Weekly defoliation controls, but does not kill broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius). / Evert, F.K.; Cockburn, M.; Beniers, J.E.; Latsch, R.

In: Weed Research, 22.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Latsch, R.

PY - 2020/1/22

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AB - Broad‐leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius L.) is a troublesome weed that predominantly grows in pastures and grassland. We hypothesised that frequent defoliation of Rumex will, over time, result in a reduction in root weight and leaf area, to the point where the impact on grass production is negligible. In order to investigate this hypothesis, we conducted three experiments. The objective of the first experiment was to perform a preliminary test of the hypothesis, using potted plants growing in the controlled conditions of a glasshouse. This experiment showed a rapid decline in leaf growth in plants that were defoliated weekly. The objective of the second experiment was to test the hypothesis in realistic outdoor conditions while still being able to collect detailed plant growth information. This experiment confirmed the findings of the glasshouse experiment and provided evidence that leaf growth ceased as a result of a dwindling supply of carbohydrate reserves in the root. Defoliated plants did not exhibit increased mortality. Finally, the objective of the third experiment was to test the hypothesis in a commercial pasture where normal field operations, specifically grass harvesting (three times) and slurry injection (twice), were performed. The results of this experiment were consistent with the results of the other two experiments. We conclude that weekly defoliation, maintained for three or more months, is an effective method to control (reduce the impact on grass production), but not kill, R. obtusifolius in pasture.

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