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Weed competition in maize Zea mays L as a function of the timing of hand-hoeing weed control in the southern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria


, : Weed competition in maize Zea mays L as a function of the timing of hand-hoeing weed control in the southern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria.

Field studies were conducted in 2010 and 2011 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (9 29? N, 4 35? E) to evaluate the effect of early weed competition on the growth and yield of maize. The experiment was designed as a randomized complete block (RCBD) with a split-plot arrangement and three replications. The main plots consisted of three weed control treatments included weedy (no herbicide), grass weeds (pre-emergence atrazine) and broadleaf weeds (pre-emergence metolachlor), while the sub-plots consisted of six durations of weed infestation (3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 weeks after emergence). The pre-emergence herbicides had a greater effect on weed density and weed dry weight. Weed seedling emergence and weed dry weight increased significantly with an increase in the duration of weed interference. The grasses and broadleaf weeds had a similar influence on the growth and grain yield of maize. Three to five weeks of weed interference gave similar grain yields, which were significantly higher than those obtained in plots that had 6-8 weeks of weed interference. These results suggest that the maize crop must be kept free of weeds for 6-8 weeks after the application of pre-emergence herbicide to minimize weed-crop competition and harvest a good grain yield.

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