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Effect of repetitive mowing on common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) pollen and seed production.

Simard, M.-J. and Benoît, D.-L. (2011). "Effect of repetitive mowing on common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) pollen and seed production.", Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine (AAEM), 18(1), pp. 55-62.

Abstract

Ambrosia artemisiifolia L (common ragweed) is a familiar roadside weed in southern Québec (Canada) that produces large amounts of airborne pollen responsible for multiple rhino-conjunctivitis (hay fever) cases. As roadside weeds are increasingly controlled by mowing alone, the effect of a mowing treatment on pollen production was evaluated. Ambrosia artemisiifolia plants were grown in a greenhouse at 4 densities (1, 3, 6 and 12 plants per 314 cm2 pot) and either left intact or mowed (10 cm from the ground) when the plants reached 25 cm in height, i.e. twice during the life cycle of this annual plant. Pollen production per male infl orescence was collected in open-top bags and counted. Infl orescence mass, length, location on the plant and date of anthesis onset was noted. Above-ground plant biomass and seed production was also evaluated. Mowed plants produced less pollen per unit of infl orescence length than intact plants. Pollen production per plant was reduced by a factor of 8.84 by the double mowing treatment, while viable seed production per plant was reduced by a factor of 4.66, irrespective of density. Mowing twice has the potential to reduce airborne pollen loads but Ambrosia artemisiifolia seed banks are unlikely to be depleted by this management strategy.

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