Conclusions

The discussion in the preceding sections indicates that agricultural weeds generally share certain properties, including small seed size, high relative growth rate, low early absolute growth rate, intolerance to stress, and high reproductive capacity. They differ from crops in most of these respects, and these differences form the basis for a variety of weed management tactics.

Despite similarities among weeds, weed species differ with respect to longevity, ability to spread vegetatively, temporal pattern of seed production, relative seed size, ability of seeds to persist in the soil, and season of germination. Divergent life history characteristics allow different weed species to prosper in differing sorts of crop production systems and may require divergent management strategies for successful control.

The several life cycle stages of a weed provide separate opportunities for control. Constraining a weed population at several points in the life cycle by using multiple partial controls is the essence of integrated weed management and is the basic approach for meeting the objectives of weed management proposed in Chapter 1. Chapters 4 through 9 discuss methods for attacking weeds at various stages in their life cycle. Often, reduction in the number of individuals passing through a stage improves management options in succeeding stages. In some cases, a particular tactic may be quite impractical unless the population is constrained in other ways as well. Consequently, the potential effectiveness of a particular tactic may be much greater than is indicated by studies that treat the factor in isolation.

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