Common cocklebur is a new weed in irrigated maize grown for forage in the hot, dry region of northwest Pakistan. We conducted experiments in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Peshawar, Pakistan, during 2006 and 2007 to evaluate the interaction of common cocklebur density and maize density on biomass, leaf area index (LAI), and plant height of forage maize. Seven common cocklebur densities (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 plants m−2) in maize planted at four densities (5, 7.5, 10, and 12.5 plants m−2) were evaluated. An ANOVA for both years revealed significant main effects and interactions for all variables. Regression of measured variables against common cocklebur density showed that maize biomass declined linearly as common cocklebur density increased from 0 to 12 plants m−2, with an increasing rate of decline for high maize densities and low maize densities. Combined data for all maize densities revealed that the relationship between maize biomass and common cocklebur biomass fit a linear function, with 1.28 to 1.35 kg ha−1 loss in maize biomass for each kilogram per hectare increase in common cocklebur biomass from about 1,500 to 3,200 kg ha−1. Above 8 to 10 common cocklebur plants m−2, weed biomass declined, presumably due to intraspecific competition. An increase in common cocklebur density decreased maize LAI about 0.15 to 0.3 units for each additional common cocklebur plant per square meter in 2006, and 0.11 to 0.24 units in 2007. Common cocklebur LAI increased in a linear fashion as density of the weed increased. Results suggest that the effect of common cocklebur interference on maize biomass was associated with a change in allocation of resources, resulting in increased crop height growth at the expense of a reduction in LAI and presumably potential light interception by the crop as common cocklebur density increased.
Nomenclature: Common cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium L. XANST; maize, Zea mays L