Velvetleaf is a troublesome annual weed in many cropping systems of the United States and Canada. Differences in the growing environment of parent plants can influence the number, structure, germinability, and viability of seeds produced. Thus, the effects across a range of competitive environments and corn planting dates on velvetleaf seed production, germination, and seed coat weight were examined under field conditions. Seed production of velvetleaf increased with increasing biomass. Total velvetleaf reproductive output was reduced in competition with corn compared with monoculture stands. Corn planting date had no effect on the dormancy status of seeds, but increased competition from corn resulted in up to a 30% decrease in the proportion of seeds that were dormant. Seed and seed coat weights also decreased for plants of velvetleaf grown in competition with corn compared with those grown in monoculture. These findings suggest that velvetleaf plants growing in relatively noncompetitive environments, such as along field edges or in field areas with poor crop stands, are likely not only to produce a greater number of seeds but also a greater proportion of seeds that are dormant. This alteration in the dormancy status of velvetleaf seeds in the absence or presence of a crop provides unique opportunities for effective long-term management of the soil seedbank in this species, especially for velvetleaf individuals bordering fields or growing in fallow areas that might require more stringent control because of increased seed dormancy.
Nomenclature: Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medic. ABUTH; corn, Zea mays L. ‘Dekalb 520RR’.