The overall objective of this study was to identify common patterns in the spatial distribution of the major weed species present in the corn-growing region of central Spain, exploring the scale dependence of these patterns and the possible associations or dissociations between individual species. Weed density was assessed in 16 commercial fields using digital images acquired in a 9-m by 9-m sampling grid. A set of six species was found in all the fields: black nightshade, common cocklebur, fierce thornapple, johnsongrass, purple nutsedge, and velvetleaf. Spatial analysis by distance indices and inverse distance weighting interpolation methods were performed to create weed distribution maps. The results showed aggregated spatial distribution patterns for all individual species regardless their life cycle, annual or perennial. Some associations and dissociations among species were found in the analysis of interactions. Nevertheless, the spatial patterns of co-occurrence of weed species were field-specific and therefore cannot be considered general patterns of weed co-occurrence. In order to explore the scale dependence of these results, an additional study was conducted in an experimental field located in the same area using a 1.0-m by 0.75-m sampling grid. Although this resolution allowed for a better definition of the positions of the weed patches and weed-free gaps, the results obtained revealed similar patterns to those observed with a coarser sampling resolution.
Nomenclature: Black nightshade, Solanum nigrum L. SOLNI; common cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium L. XANST; fierce thornapple, Datura ferox L. DATFE; johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers. SORHA; purple nutsedge, Cyperus rotundus L. CYPRO; velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medik. ABUTH; corn, Zea mays L.