Species composition and density of weeds in a grain maize crop depending of soil tillage

P. Yankov*, M. Drumeva

Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering and Technologies,
Technical University of Varna, 1 Studentska Str., 9010 Varna, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 5 September 2020; accepted for publication 26 October 2020)

Abstract. The study was carried out during 2014-2016 on slightly leached chernozem soil type. The species composition and density of weeds were studied in grain maize grown after previous crop wheat under the following main soil tillage types: ploughing at 24-26 cm, chisel plough at 24-26 cm and no-tillage (direct sowing). The additional tilths of the areas with ploughed and loosened soil included single disking in autumn and double pre-sowing harrowing in spring. A total herbicide was applied for control of the emerging weeds in the variant with direct sowing. The weed control was done according to the standard technology for growing of the crop in this region – treatment with herbicides at stage 3rd-5th leaf of the plants. Weed infestation was read in spring prior to the pre-sowing tillage, immediately before the vegetation treatment with herbicides, and after harvesting. The type of main soil tillage had a statistically significant effect on the species composition and the density of weeds in the grain maize crops grown after previous crop wheat. The use of ploughing, in parallel with the use of chemicals for weed control, decreased the weed infestation in the maize crops. The lower density of weeds under this main soil tillage type was related to changes in the composition and the relative percentage of the respective species in the total infestation. The use of tilths without turning the surface layer and no-tillage in the crop rotation, in spite of the application of herbicides, contributed to the increase of the amount of weeds. The reason for this was the higher variability of weed species typical for shallow tillage types.