Weeds that respond more to nitrogen fertilizer than crops may be more competitive under high nitrogen (N) conditions. Therefore, understanding the effects of nitrogen on crop and weed growth and competition is critical. Field experiments were conducted at two locations in 1999 and 2000 to determine the influence of varying levels of N addition on corn and velvetleaf height, leaf area, biomass accumulation, and yield. Nitrogen addition increased corn and velvetleaf height by a maximum of 15 and 68%, respectively. N addition increased corn and velvetleaf maximum leaf area index (LAI) by up to 51 and 90%. Corn and velvetleaf maximum biomass increased by up to 68 and 89% with N addition. Competition from corn had the greatest effect on velvetleaf growth, reducing its biomass by up to 90% compared with monoculture velvetleaf. Corn response to N addition was less than that of velvetleaf, indicating that velvetleaf may be most competitive at high levels of nitrogen and least competitive when nitrogen levels are low. Corn yield declined with increasing velvetleaf interference at all levels of N addition. However, corn yield loss due to velvetleaf interference was similar across N treatments except in one site–year, where yield loss increased with increasing N addition. Corn yield loss due to velvetleaf interference may increase with increasing N supply when velvetleaf emergence and early season growth are similar to that of corn.
Nomenclature: Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medic. ABUTH; corn, Zea mays L. ‘Pioneer 33A14’.