Key management practices to reduce the risk of the occurrence of Rumex obtusifolius in productive grasslands

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Klötzli, J., Suter, M., Beaumont, D. A., Kolmanič, A., Leskovšek, R., Schaffner, U., Storkey, J. and Lüscher, A. 2023. Key management practices to reduce the risk of the occurrence of Rumex obtusifolius in productive grasslands. Weed Research. pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1111/wre.12608

AuthorsKlötzli, J., Suter, M., Beaumont, D. A., Kolmanič, A., Leskovšek, R., Schaffner, U., Storkey, J. and Lüscher, A.
Abstract

Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock) is a problematic weed that reduces yield and nutritional value of forage in grasslands of temperate regions worldwide. We conducted an on-farm study to identify management practices and environmental factors that influence the risk of the occurrence of R. obtusifolius in high densities in permanent, productive grasslands used for forage production. Following a common protocol, a paired case–control design was implemented in Switzerland (CH), Slovenia (SI), and United Kingdom (UK) to compare parcels with high densities of R. obtusifolius (cases, ≥1 plant m−2) with nearby parcels free of or with very low densities of the species (controls, ≤4 plants 100 m−2). A total of 40, 20, and 18 pairs were recorded in CH, SI, and UK respectively. Parameters measured included data about management practices and history, vegetation cover and composition, and soil nutrients and texture. Across countries, increased vegetation cover reduced the relative risk of R. obtusifolius occurrence. By contrast, increased soil phosphorus and potassium and high soil bulk density raised the relative risk. These effects were consistent across countries, as no interactions between country and any of the factors were observed. The two indicator species for case parcels, Plantago major and Poa annua, were typical species of disturbed areas and fertile soils, while indicators for control parcels were characteristic of grasslands under medium to high management intensity (e.g., Festuca rubra, Cynosorus cristatus, Anthoxantum odoratum). We conclude that the risk for grassland infestation with R. obtusifolius can be significantly affected by management practices. Prevention measures should target phosphorus and potassium fertilisation to the forage plants' requirements, minimise soil compaction, and maintain dense swards.

KeywordsIndicator species; Vegetation cover; Soil P content; Soil K content; Soil bulk density; Integrated weed management
Year of Publication2023
JournalWeed Research
Journal citationpp. 1-13
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/wre.12608
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online22 Dec 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Dec 2023
ISSN0043-1737
PublisherWiley

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