Allelopathic Effect of Some Associated Weeds of Wheat on Germinability and Biomass Production of Wheat Seedlings

ABSTRACT: Weeds associated with crops may impose their phytotoxic effects on crop plants through the release of their allelochemicals and hence seriously reduce crop productivity. The present study was conducted to investigate the allelopathic effect of water soluble phenolics of weeds associated with wheat crop (Vicia sativa, Trigonella polycerata, Lathyrus aphaca, Medicago polymorpha, Melilotus indica) on germinability and biomass production of wheat seedlings by using their water extracts at 2.5% (w/v) and 5% (w/v) concentrations and residues of the same weeds with 0, 15 and 30 d decomposition periods at 2% (w/w) concentration. The results showed that the water extracts of M. indica and V. sativa at 5% concentration imposed the most inhibitory effect on energy of germination (81%) and prolonged time to 50% germination (226%), respectively; by contrast, T. polycerata and M. indica extracts at the same concentration inhibited shoot (8%) and root fresh biomass (64%). However, shoot dry biomass was exalted by the weed extracts at both concentrations with maximum increase (29%) caused by the M.indica extract at 2.5% concentration; however, root dry biomass (46%) and root/shoot ratio (51%) were decreased by M. polymorpha and M. indica extracts at 5% concentration, respectively. Residues of L. aphaca and M. polymorpha with a 30 d decomposition period proved the most toxic regarding energy of emergence (85%) and time to 50% emergence (138%), respectively; while, shoot fresh (41%) and dry biomass (26%) production were hindered mostly by M. indica and M. polymorpha residues with a 30 d decomposition period. There was the highest decrease in root fresh (64%) and dry biomass (64%), and root/shoot ratio (64%) when treatment was performed with V. sativa residues without decomposition. The results show that leachates and residues of weeds inhibit wheat germinability and biomass production through release of allelochemicals, and they are a threat to profitable crop production.