Allelopathy for weed control in agricultural systems
Abstract , Crop Protection, 2015
Weeds are a hidden foe for crop plants, interfering with their functions and suppressing their growth and development. Yield losses of ∼34% are caused by weeds among the major crops, which are grown worldwide. These yield losses are higher than the losses caused by other pests in the crops. Sustainable weed management is needed in the wake of a huge decline in crop outputs due to weed pressure. A diversity in weed management tools ensures sustainable weed control and reduces chances of herbicide resistance development in weeds. Allelopathy as a tool, can be importantly used to combat the challenges of environmental pollution and herbicide resistance development. This review article provides a recent update regarding the practical application of allelopathy for weed control in agricultural systems. Several studies elaborate on the significance of allelopathy for weed management. Rye, sorghum, rice, sunflower, rape seed, and wheat have been documented as important allelopathic crops. These crops express their allelopathic potential by releasing allelochemicals which not only suppress weeds, but also promote underground microbial activities. Crop cultivars with allelopathic potentials can be grown to suppress weeds under field conditions. Further, several types of allelopathic plants can be intercropped with other crops to smother weeds. The use of allelopathic cover crops and mulches can reduce weed pressure in field crops. Rotating a routine crop with an allelopathic crop for one season is another method of allelopathic weed control. Importantly, plant breeding can be explored to improve the allelopathic potential of crop cultivars. In conclusion, allelopathy can be utilized for suppressing weeds in field crops. Allelopathy has a pertinent significance for ecological, sustainable, and integrated weed management systems.