Brachiaria decumbens supresses the initial growth of Coffea arabica

Brachiaria decumbens suprime o crescimento inicial de Coffea arabica

Brachiaria decumbens is becoming one the most common weeds growing in young coffee orchards because, besides its fast growth and difficulty of control, new coffee orchards are usually established in pasture areas. In order to verify the effect of B. decumbens plant density on the early growth of coffee (Coffea arabica L. cv. Catuaí Amarelo), a competition experiment was conducted under semi-controlled humidity conditions. Soil collected in a Typic Haplustox was placed in 70 L asbestos cement boxes and one coffee seedling was planted in each box. The B. decumbens seedlings were transplanted to the boxes at the 2-4 leaf stage. Treatments consisted of 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 36, 48, and 60 weeds m-2. The experimental period started 120 days after transplanting and the experimental design was organized as completely randomized blocks, with four replicates. All coffee plant parameters evaluated were negatively affected by the interference. The most sensitive characteristics were leaf area (41.8% reduction with 8 plants m-2, reaching 68.7% at a density of 60 plants m-2). Therefore, at a density of 8 plants m-2 the reduction in leaf dry biomass was 41.4% compared with the check. At the density of 60 plants m-2 it was 72.8%. B. decumbens, at a density of 8 or more plants m-2, suppressed coffee plants during a growth period of 120 days.

weed; coffee; competition; growth suppression

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