Greenhouse studies were conducted to assess the intensity of smooth pigweed and common purslane aboveground interference (AI) and belowground interference (BI) with lettuce and to determine primary mechanisms of interference of each species as affected by P fertility rates. Lettuce was transplanted in mixtures with either smooth pigweed or common purslane according to four partitioning regimes: no interference, full interference, BI, and AI. Soil used was low in P for optimum lettuce yields, therefore P was added at rates of 0, 0.4, and 0.8 grams of P per liter of soil. Shoot and root biomass and plant height were measured for each species, as well as P tissue content. The data obtained indicated that smooth pigweed interfered with lettuce primarily through light interception by its taller canopy. A secondary mechanism of interference was the absorption of P from the soil through luxury consumption, increasing the P tissue content without enhancing smooth pigweed biomass accumulation. In contrast, common purslane competed aggressively with lettuce for P. Because the weed grew taller than lettuce, light interception was a secondary interference factor.
Nomenclature: Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea L. POROL; smooth pigweed, Amaranthus hybridus L. AMACH; lettuce, Lactuca sativa L.