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In Hungary, the cocklebur species significantly endanger row crops (i.e. corn, sunflower, sugar beet). Their fast spreading is caused by many reasons: long-lasting emergence, reduced sensitivity to many kinds of herbicides, vigorous competitional ability, allelopathy, fast initial growth and changes in climate. The means of allelopathy is used by many species of plants in the competition with one another, as well as by the cockleburs. But the efficiency of this is influenced by many factors. Species with allelopathical effect could show different behaviour under different conditions: they can produce compounds with retarding and stimulating effects in different quantities or compositions. The actual condition of the acceptor plant and the mediator agent (i.e. soil) influence the final effect.
In this experiment influence of phenology and rainfall was studied on allelopathy of cockleburs in May, July and September. A stronger inhibition was observed on growth of cress before rain in July than in May, but this retarding effect disappeared after rainfall. However, the samples collected in September have significant inhibitory effect after rain. Inhibition of sugarbeet’s germination was stronger in May than in July, and the difference increased after rain.