Biochemical and morphological roles of allelopathic crops in integrated weed management: A review

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Joyful Tatenda Rugare


Poor weed control accounts for 40-60% of yield losses in arable crops. The widespread and injudicious use of synthetic herbicides currently obtaining in many farming communities leads to environmental damage and a surge in the development of herbicide resistant weed biotypes. These negative effects of improper herbicide use have created the need for efficacious, environmentally friendly and economically feasible alternatives or complements to herbicides. One such approach is the exploitation of allelopathy in ecological and integrated weed management. Several strategies of exploiting allelopathy in weed management have been widely investigated. In this review, the use of crop allelopathy, allelopathic residues, allelopathic water extracts and allelopathic cover crops is discussed. The study revealed that improved crop productivity where allelopathic plants/extracts are used is attributed to effective and selective suppression of weeds in weed-crop mixtures through competition, allelopathy and toxicant-induced hormesis that occurs when the plant extracts/mulches are applied or released at concentrations lethal to weeds but stimulatory to crops.
Key words: Allelopathy, cover crop, hormesis, weed management

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