We conducted a series of three greenhouse studies to study the allelopathic effects of seven native perennial North American forage species alone and mixed on three problematic weeds including dandelion [Taraxacum officinale (Weber) ex Wigg.], scentless chamomile (Matricaria perforata Mérat), and foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum L.). Shoot dry weight and root to shoot ratio of weeds were affected by leachate from forage species in all three experiments. In the first experiment, leachate from little blue stem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash] reduced the shoot dry weight of weeds up to 58%. In the second experiment, leachate of little blue stem, western wheatgrass [Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) Löve], and sideoats grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.] reduced shoot dry weight of weeds up to 72% and this number increased up to 90% in the third experiment. In the last experiment, no synergistic effects of mixed leachate from different forage species on shoot dry weight of weeds were observed. In this study, dandelion and foxtail barley allocated less to roots and shoots, respectively. In conclusion, our results showed that root leachate from western wheatgrass, little blue stem, and sideoats grama can reduce the aboveground and belowground growth of weeds. These findings suggest that the use of allelopathic species may provide weed control and management benefits in seeded pastures and native prairie restorations.
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