Field trials were conducted to investigate the influence of P application method on the critical period of smooth pigweed and common purslane interference in lettuce. Studies were carried out in low-P histosols, where supplemental P fertilization is needed for lettuce production. Phosphorus was either broadcast or banded 5 cm beneath the lettuce rows at rates of 250 or 125 kg ha−1, respectively. Seedlings of either smooth pigweed or common purslane were transplanted at a density of 16 plants per 5.4 m2 (6-m row by 0.9 m wide). Weed interference duration was achieved by manual removal 2, 4, 6, or 8 wk after lettuce emergence and subsequently keeping the plot weed free until harvest. A weed-free control within each P regimen was also established. Marketable head number, head fresh yield, and head diameter were measured at harvest. Weed-free lettuce fresh yield was 20% higher with banded P than broadcast applications. In the weed–lettuce mixtures, the P regimen by weed removal interaction affected lettuce fresh yield and head diameter but not head number. Compared with broadcast P application, banded P extended the time needed to cause significant weed interference in lettuce by 10 d: from 24 to 34 d for smooth pigweed and from 37 to 47 d for common purslane.
Nomenclature: Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea L. POROL; smooth pigweed, Amaranthus hybridus L. AMACH; lettuce, Lactuca sativa L.