Slow carrot emergence and canopy development render the crop a poor competitor with weeds. In this study, the ability to suppress weeds and maintain yield in the presence of weeds was compared among nine carrot varieties that included those selected by plant breeders for rapid vegetative canopy development compared to traditional varieties. Two weed management treatments were compared: handweeding for 21 d after carrot seeding versus handweeding for the entire carrot season. In years and locations with low to moderate weed pressure, such as in the 2014 study, differences among carrot varieties in weed competitiveness or tolerance were less apparent and therefore less relevant. Maximum carrot yield loss to weed competition among varieties was 28% in 2014. Yield loss in the presence of weeds was 15% or less with six of the nine carrot varieties. However, when weed pressure was intense in the 2015 study, both carrot plant density and carrot canopy development were inversely related to weed biomass. Carrot yield loss in the presence of weeds ranged from 38 to 87%. Despite correcting seeding populations for differences in germination among carrot varieties, carrot stand establishment varied greatly and would likely affect subsequent weed control measures such as timely cultivation or herbicide application. Future research efforts are warranted that consider carrot stand establishment factors and their relationship with integrated weed management programs.
Nomenclature: Carrot, Daucus carota L. var. sativus Hoffm.