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Tropentag, October 7 - 9, 2008 in Hohenheim

"Competition for Resources in a Changing World:
New Drive for Rural Development"

Allelopathy as an Alternative Method for Weed Control in Saffron Fields: A Suitable Approach to Sustainable Agriculture

Leila Alimoradi1, Golsoomeh Azizi1, Maryam Jahani1, Asieh Siah-Marguee1, Atefeh Keshavarzi2

1Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Department of Agronomy, Iran
2Gorgan University, Faculty of Soil Science, Soil Science, Iran


Allelopathy, the chemical mechanism of plant interference, can affect many aspects of plant ecology including plant occurrence, growth, succession, plant community structure, dominance, diversity and plant productivity. An allelopathic plant can potentially be used to control weeds. In a rotational sequence, when an allelopathic plant is left as a residue or mulch, especially in low-till systems, it could control subsequent weed growth. Allelopathy is characterised by a reduction in plant emergence or growth, reducing their performance in the association. To study the effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) extract on germination of Rapistrum rogosum and Gypsophilla pillosa, an experiment was conducted in completely randomised design with 3 replications at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. Treatments included the extract of saffron seeds and leaves at 5 levels (check, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2%). Results indicated that seed extract did not affect germination percentage significantly, but seed germination affected by different concentrations of leaf extract. With increasing concentration of leaf and corm extract rate of germination, shoot length, root length and seedling dry weight of R. rogosum and G. pillosa decreased. On the whole, R. rogosum was more tolerance than G. pillosa and root length was more sensitive then shoots length to saffron extract. From a holistic poit of view, research potential and use of allelopathy in an agroecosystem is very wide. The richness of agricultural techniques, crop rotation, cover cropping, and related practices allow researchers to evaluate and make use of allelopathic chemicals for weed management in agricultural systems.

Keywords: Allelopathy, biological control, saffron, weeds

Contact Address: Leila Alimoradi, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Department of Agronomy, Azadi Square, 91775-1163 Mashhad, Iran, e-mail: lealimoradi@yahoo.com

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