Recovery of common agricultural weeds after burial by soil was studied in four greenhouse and three field experiments. Species studied included velvetleaf, Powell amaranth, common lambsquarters, barnyardgrass, and giant foxtail. Seedlings were bent over before burial to simulate the effect of the impact of soil thrown by a cultivator. Altogether, more than 35,000 seedlings were marked and observed for recovery. No seedlings recovered from 4 cm of burial. Recovery from complete burial under 2 cm of soil ranged from 0 to 24% depending on the experiment, species, and watering treatment, but recovery greater than 5% was rare. Large-seeded species tended to recover from complete burial under 2 cm of soil better than small-seeded species. The study did not reveal a difference in recovery of grasses relative to broadleaf weeds. Overall, seedlings tended to recover best when water was applied daily after burial, worst when water was applied once on the day of burial, and to an intermediate extent when no water was applied. However, difference in recovery between the no-water and watering-once treatments were usually small. Also, many experiment by species combinations showed no significant differences among watering treatments. When even a small portion of the seedling was left exposed, recovery generally exceeded 50%. Organic weed management systems commonly use burial of weed seedlings with tine weeders and soil thrown by sweeps and hilling disks to control weeds in crop rows. Recovery from burial could pose a substantial weed management problem in some circumstances, particularly for large-seeded weed species. Maximizing burial depth is important for limiting recovery. Recovery from burial can be minimized by withholding irrigation for several days after hilling-up operations.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv. ECHCG; common lambsquarters, Chenopodium album L. CHEAL; giant foxtail, Setaria faberi Herrm. SETFA; Powell amaranth, Amaranthus powellii S. Wats. AMAPO; velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Medik. ABUTH.