Weeds compete with crops for light, soil water, and nutrients. Nitrogen (N) is the primary limiting soil nutrient. Forecasting the effects of N on growth, development, and interplant competition requires accurate prediction of N uptake and distribution within plants. Field studies were conducted in 1999 and 2000 to determine the effects of variable N addition on monoculture corn and velvetleaf N uptake, the relationship between plant N concentration ([N]) and total biomass, the fraction of N partitioned to leaves, and predicted N uptake and leaf N content. Cumulative N uptake of both species was generally greater in 2000 than in 1999 and tended to increase with increasing N addition. Corn and velvetleaf [N] declined with increasing biomass in both years in a predictable manner. The fraction of N partitioned to corn and velvetleaf leaves varied with thermal time from emergence but was not influenced by year, N addition, or weed density. With the use of the [N]–biomass relationship to forecast N demand, cumulative corn N uptake was accurately predicted for three of four treatments in 1999 but was underpredicted in 2000. Velvetleaf N uptake was accurately predicted in all treatments in both years. Leaf N content (NL, g N m−2 leaf) was predicted by the fraction of N partitioned to leaves, predicted N uptake, and observed leaf area index for each species. Average deviations between predicted and observed corn NL were < 88 and 12% of the observed values in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Velvetleaf NL was less well predicted, with average deviations ranging from 39 to 248% of the observed values. Results of this research indicate that N uptake in corn and velvetleaf was driven primarily by biomass accumulation. Overall, the approaches outlined in this paper provide reasonable predictions of corn and velvetleaf N uptake and distribution in aboveground tissues.
Nomenclature: Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medic. ABUTH corn, Zea mays L. ‘Pioneer 33A14’.