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Comparing weed composition in natural and planted hedgerows and in herbaceous field margins adjacent to crop fields

Canadian Journal of Plant Science


Hedgerows and field margins are common features of the agricultural landscape in southern Quebec. In the last decade, hedgerow establishment has been encouraged primarily for the prevention of soil erosion, though many farmers view them as reservoirs of invasive weeds and pests. In this study, we compared weed assemblages of several hedgerow types and herbaceous field margins. Ranking that takes into consideration weed abundance was clearly demonstrated: planted hedgerows > herbaceous field margins > natural woody hedgerows. The latter harboured many perennial plant species of less weedy propensity than planted hedgerows, which accommodated a larger number of weedy species. In planted hedgerows close to 50% of plants were weeds, even in their central position, although planted and natural hedgerows sheltered similar weed composition in their central parts. Likewise, most species inventoried in adjacent fields were weeds. Weeds characterising the central position of hedgerows/field margins were often species of wet habitats (Lythrum salicaria L., Equisetum arvense L., Cicuta maculata L.). Management practices of hedgerows and perhaps of crop fields adjacent to hedgerows may be mostly responsible for the abundance of weeds in hedgerows and field margins.

Author(s): Boutin, C; Jobin, B; Belanger, L; Choiniere, L

Journal: Canadian Journal of Plant Science

Year: 2001