Important maize weeds profit in growth and reproduction from climate change conditions represented by higher temperatures and reduced humidity


  • Kristian Peters Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Crop Health, Satower Str. 48, D-18051 Rostock
  • Bärbel Gerowitt Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Crop Health, Satower Str. 48, D-18051 Rostock



Amaranthus retroflexus, Echinochloa crus-galli, Setaria viridis, climate change, phenotypic plasticity, emergence, development, biomass, seed production, Northern Germany


Climate change is predicted to result in rising temperatures and reduced precipitation during spring and summer in Central Europe. As a consequence, crops and weeds will be affected. Our study focuses on the three weed species in maize Amaranthus retroflexus, Echinochloa crus-galli and Setaria viridis. These weeds occur numerously in European maize fields and populations are likely to further increase. Yet, there is a lack of knowledge about particular biological strategies of the weeds. Our study focuses on how the weed species respond biologically to the climate change conditions. Experiments were conducted in two climate chambers with a 2°C difference in temperature and the warmer one with 13% less humidity. Emergence, development, biomass and seed production were determined of the weeds grown individually in pots and grown within maize. All tested weed species were taller during the first weeks under the climate change scenario. At later growth phases there was a trade-off between traits measured during vegetative growth and at the time when seeds were produced. To summarize the results, the weed species profited in the order E. crus-galli, S. viridis and A. retroflexus from the climate change conditions. Knowledge of the weeds biological responses to the predicted conditions helps to reduce their long-term population development by targeting crop protection measures at specific growth phases of the weeds. To ensure control of the tested weed species under climate change conditions various weed management strategies are necessary.