Analysis of Traits Related to Weed Competitiveness in Sweet Corn ( Zea mays L.)
Weed management in sweet corn can be costly; genetic improvements in sweet corn competitiveness may reduce this expense. Competitive ability can exist as weed suppressive ability (WSA), or crop tolerance (CT). Previous studies in corn have found year of hybrid release, maturity, plant height, leaf angle and leafiness may affect WSA, while hybrid era, maturity, and plant height may affect CT. However, many of these studies were limited to very few genotypes. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of phenomorphological traits on sweet corn competitiveness and the inheritance of these traits. An incomplete half-diallel from seven historic sweet corn inbred lines of varying morphologies was evaluated in a split-block randomized complete block design in three environments. Forage sorghum was interplanted in half of the blocks to act as a model weed. Significant differences among hybrids were generally found for both phenomorphological traits and traits measuring WSA and CT, such as sorghum biomass and yield stability, respectively. Crop plant height was most predictive of WSA and CT. In this set of genotypes, competitive ability may be passed with reasonable fidelity from parent to offspring, suggesting that sweet corn could be bred for competitive ability.
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