Management practices influence the competitivepotential of weed communities and their value tobiodiversity in South African vineyards

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

MacLaren, C., Bennett, J. and Dehnen-Schmutz, K. 2019. Management practices influence the competitivepotential of weed communities and their value tobiodiversity in South African vineyards. Weed Research. 59 (2), pp. 93-106.

AuthorsMacLaren, C., Bennett, J. and Dehnen-Schmutz, K.

Weeds have negative impacts on crop production but also play a role in sustaining biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. This trade‐off raises the question of whether it is possible to promote weed communities with low competitive potential but high value to biodiversity. Here, we explored how weed communities respond to different vineyard management practices in South Africa's Western Cape, aiming to identify whether any specific practices are associated with more beneficial weed communities. Eight weed community characteristics representative of abundance, diversity and functional composition were used as indicators of competitive potential and biodiversity value. We explored how these responded to farm management strategy (organic, low input or conventional) and weed management practices (herbicides, tillage, mowing or combinations of these) using ordination and mixed models. Mown sites were associated with weed communities of high biodiversity value, with higher weed cover in both winter and summer, higher diversity and more native weeds. Mowing also promoted shorter weeds than either tillage or herbicides, considered to be less competitive with grapevines. However, high summer weed cover may be problematic where competition for water is critical, in which case tillage offers a method to limit summer weed cover that did not adversely affect diversity or native weeds. In contrast, herbicide‐treated sites had characteristics indicative of a lower biodiversity value and higher potential for competitiveness with few native weeds, lower diversity and relatively tall, small‐seeded weeds. Mowing in winter combined with tillage in spring may thus optimise the biodiversity benefits and production costs of Western Cape vineyard weeds.

KeywordsWeeds; Weed management; Plant community; Biodiversity; Competition; Organic; Functional traits
Year of Publication2019
JournalWeed Research
Journal citation59 (2), pp. 93-106
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online17 Jan 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted21 Nov 2018

Permalink -

65 total views
194 total downloads
2 views this month
4 downloads this month
Download files as zip