Row orientation in vineyards can affect the quantity of light intercepted by the crop's canopy. Consequently, the light available to weeds growing under the canopy might also be affected, with potential implications for their physiology, growth, and productivity. This hypothesis was tested in 2003 and 2004 in a central California vineyard having rows oriented east–west (EW) and north–south (NS) in a randomized complete block design. In April of both years, potted black nightshade seedlings were placed under grapevines of both row orientations and grown for about 10 wk. Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) at the weed canopy zone (WCZ) of NS rows was bimodal, with peaks occurring at about 09:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. At those times, PAR approached 500 μmol m−2 s−1 (between 30 and 40% of full sun). In contrast, maximum PAR in the WCZ of EW rows was generally less than 75 μmol m−2 s−1 throughout the day. The ratio of red to far-red light was also greater in NS than EW rows in the morning and afternoon. In both row orientations, PAR was suboptimal for nightshade because maximum net photosynthesis occurred at light levels ≥ 500 μmol m−2 s−1, but nightshade in the NS rows had higher net photosynthetic rates than those in EW rows when subjected to higher ambient PAR. Stem extension and phenology of nightshade was not affected by vine row orientation, but plants in EW rows had greater leaf areas, leaf area ratios, leaf weight ratios, and lower specific leaf weights than plants in NS rows. Berry mass, seeds per berry, and estimated seed production was 40, 7, and 20% lower, respectively, for plants in the EW than in the NS rows. Dry mass and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) of nightshade roots were also 25 and 45% lower, respectively, in EW than in NS plants. Thus, grapevine row orientation may affect nightshade fecundity by reducing light in the WCZ.
Nomenclature: Black nightshade, Solanum nigrum L.; grape, Vitis vinifera L.