The critical period of weed control for crops grown under conventional tillage systems has been well studied, and the results generated by these studies have been proven to be very useful in developing ecologically and economically sound weed management practices. However, these management systems may not be directly applicable under no-till situations because the species composition, total amount, and temporal pattern of seedling emergence change substantially with tillage. The objective of this study was to identify the critical period of weed control for soybean and corn in fields that had been under no-till management for 1 yr. Although estimates of the critical period for a crop vary from year to year and site to site, some interesting comparisons can be made between no-till and conventional tillage. The start of the critical period in no-till corn was stable, usually beginning at the six-leaf stage. The end of the critical period was more variable ranging from the 9- to 13-leaf stage. The critical period for corn under no-till conditions tended to start and end earlier than under conventional tillage practices. In soybean, we were unable to identify a critical period at one of the sites. At the other location (sandy loam soil), the critical period was estimated to begin at the first or second node developmental stage, whereas the end was determined to be at the R1 stage (early flowering). The critical period in soybean was longer than that observed under conventional tillage.
Nomenclature: Corn, Zea mays L. ‘Pioneer 3573’; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr. ‘Northrup King 2492’.
Additional index words: Weed interference, crop yield loss.
Abbreviation: DAE, days after emergence.