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Controlled interference with natural populations of Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major and Plantago media



Controlled interference with natural populations of Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major and Plantago media



Weed Res 1(3): 163-176



An experiment was made to determine the effect of the removal of grasses on the behavior of populations of P. lanceolata, P. media and P. major in 3 grassland habitats. Treatments included the addition of seed of all 3 species to the existing vegetation. The grasses were removed by treatment with 2, 2-dichloropropionic acid (dalapon), a herbicide selective against the Gramineae. The chemical appears to be slightly toxic to the Plantago species at the dose used (12 lb. /A.). The removal of the grasses was followed by a marked increase in the plantain populations shown both in counts of the numbers of plants and seedlings and in increased seed output per unit area. Deliberate sowing of seed into the habitats in autumn resulted in increased numbers of seedlings in the following spring, particularly in those plots where the grasses had been removed. Species of Plantago not occurring naturally in the communities were frequently established by sowing seed, if the grasses had been removed, but not otherwise. The overall results of the experiment suggest that in 2 of the communities the grasses played an important role in determining the presence or absence of particular Plantago species and also in controlling the size of the existing plantain populations. The experiment is discussed in the wider context of population control in plants.

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