The knowledge of weed distribution in a field is a key factor to manage weeds effectively. The feasibility of using weed distribution maps for site-specific weed control will largely depend on the stability of the spatial distribution of the populations. Seed banks are the most reliable way of telling the area's weediness, but the effect of regular herbicide applications on its stability is largely unknown. A field experiment was conducted during 3 yr in a winter wheat field under herbicide treatments with the aim of studying the seed bank's spatial distribution of prostrate knotweed and corn poppy and the spatiotemporal stability of their populations. Soil samples were taken each year on the same locations, and seed abundance was measured by germination in greenhouse. Both species accounted for more than 10% of the broad-leaved weed seed bank and they were selected for further analysis. Prostrate knotweed seed-bank density decreased 76% and corn poppy 88% in 3 yr. Spatial distribution was described by spherical isotropic semivariograms. Distance of spatial dependence (range) of prostrate knotweed and corn poppy decreased 33 and 11% respectively, and the spatial variability (sill) decreased 96 and 99%. Yearly spatial seed distribution was compared for each species and no temporal stability was observed over a 3-yr period. The lack of stability was attributed to the important decrease of seed density over time and the increase in the short-range variability (nugget). However, for prostrate knotweed, the location of minima and maxima were roughly the same between years, allowing farmers to extend the period of use of the weed distribution maps. Although spatial distribution of seed banks can be affected by processes that promote fast changes in the densities of weed populations, this fact does not mean that weed distribution maps could not be used in consecutive seasons.
Nomenclature: Corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas L.; prostrate knotweed, Polygonum aviculare L; winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L.