Lars Olav Brandsæter

Research Scientist

(+47) 901 09 435
lars.olav.brandsaeter@nibio.no

Place
Ås H7

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 7, 1433 Ås

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Abstract

Docks (Rumex spp.) are a considerable problem in grassland production worldwide. We investigated how different cultural management techniques affected dock populations during grassland renewal: (I) renewal time, (II) companion crop, (III) false seedbed, (IV) taproot cutting (V), plough skimmer and (VI) ploughing depth. Three factorial split-split plot experiments were carried out in Norway in 2007–2008 (three locations), 2008–2009 (one location) and 2009 (one location). After grassland renewal, more dock plants emerged from seeds than from roots. Summer renewal resulted in more dock seed and root plants than spring renewal. Adding a spring barley companion crop to the grassland crop often reduced dock density and biomass. A false seedbed resulted in 71% fewer dock seed plants following summer renewal, but tended to increase the number of dock plants after spring renewal. In some instances, taproot cutting resulted in less dock biomass, but the effect was weak and inconsistent, and if ploughing was shallow (16 cm) or omitted, it instead increased dock root plant emergence. Fewer root plants emerged after deep ploughing (24 cm) compared to shallow ploughing, and a plough skimmer tended to reduce the number further. We conclude that a competitive companion crop can assist in controlling both dock seed and root plants, but it is more important that the renewal time is favourable to the main crop. Taproot cutting in conjunction with ploughing is not an effective way to reduce dock root plants, but ploughing is more effective if it is deep and a skimmer is used.

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Abstract

Increasing abundance of Juncus effusus (soft rush) and Juncus conglomeratus (compact rush) in pastures and meadows in western Norway has caused reductions in forage yield and quality in recent decades. Understanding plant development and regrowth following cutting is essential in devising cost-effective means to control rushes. In a field experiment in western Norway, we investigated development of above- and below-ground fractions of rush from seedlings to three-year-old plants, including the impact on vigour of disturbing growth by different cutting frequencies during the period 2009–2012. Each year, the plants were exposed to one or two annual cuts or left untreated and five destructive samplings were performed from March to early December. Juncus effusus showed significantly more vigorous growth than Juncus conglomeratus in the last two years of the study period. The above-ground:below-ground biomass ratio of both species increased mainly in spring and early summer and was reduced in late summer and autumn. Removal of aerial shoots also reduced the below-ground fraction of both species. One annual cut in July effectively reduced biomass production in both species by 30–82%, which was only a slightly smaller reduction than with two annual cuts, in June and August. Mechanical control measures such as cutting can thus effectively reduce rush vigour when performed late in the growing season.

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Abstract

Tillage controls perennial weeds, such as Elymus repens, partly because it fragments their underground storage organs. However, tillage is difficult to combine with a growing crop, which limits its application. The aim of this study was to evaluate how soil vertical cutting with minimum soil disturbance and mowing affect the growth and competitive ability of E. repens in a grass–clover crop. A tractor-drawn prototype with vertical disks was used to fragment E. repens rhizomes with minimal soil and crop disturbance. In experiments performed in 2014 and 2015 at a field site close to Uppsala, Sweden, the rhizomes were fragmented before crop sowing (ERF), during crop growth (LRF), or both (ERFCLRF). Fragmentation was combined with repeated mowing (yes/no) and four companion crop treatments (none, Italian ryegrass, white clover, and grass/clover mixture). The results showed that in the grass–clover crop, rhizome fragmentation reduced E. repens rhizome biomass production and increased Italian ryegrass shoot biomass. ERF and LRF both reduced E. repens rhizome biomass by about 38% compared with the control, while ERFCLRF reduced it by 63%. Italian ryegrass shoot biomass was increased by 78% by ERF, 170% by LRF and 200% by ERFCLRF. Repeated mowing throughout the experiment reduced E. repens rhizome biomass by about 75%. Combining repeated mowing with rhizome fragmentation did not significantly increase the control effect compared to mowing alone. We concluded that rhizome fragmentation using vertical disks can be used both before sowing and during crop growth to enhance the controlling effect of grass–clover crops on E. repens.

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Abstract

Control of perennial weeds, such as Elymus repens, generally requires herbicides or intensive tillage. Alternative methods, such as mowing and competition from subsidiary crops, provide less efficient control. Fragmenting the rhizomes, with minimal soil disturbance and damage to the main crop, could potentially increase the efficacy and consistency of such control methods. This study's aim was to investigate whether fragmenting the rhizomes and mowing enhance the control of E. repens in a white clover sward. Six field experiments were conducted in 2012 and 2013 in Uppsala, Sweden, and Ås, Norway. The effect of cutting slits in the soil using a flat spade in a 10 × 10 cm or 20 × 20 cm grid and the effect of repeated mowing were investigated. Treatments were performed either during summer in a spring-sown white clover sward (three experiments) or during autumn, post-cereal harvest, in an under-sown white clover sward (three experiments). When performed in autumn, rhizome fragmentation and mowing reduced E. repens shoot biomass, but not rhizome biomass or shoot number. In contrast, when performed in early summer, rhizome fragmentation also reduced the E. repens rhizome biomass by up to 60%, and repeated mowing reduced it by up to 95%. The combination of the two factors appeared to be additive. Seasonal differences in treatment effects may be due to rhizomes having fewer stored resources in spring than in early autumn. We conclude that rhizome fragmentation in a growing white clover sward could reduce the amount of E. repens rhizomes and that repeated mowing is an effective control method, but that great seasonal variation exists.

Abstract

Creeping perennial weeds are of major concern in organically grown cereals. In the present study, the effects of different timing of mouldboard ploughing with or without a preceding stubble cultivation period, on weeds and spring cereals were studied. The experiments were conducted at two sites in Norway during a two and three-year period, respectively, with the treatments repeated on the same plots. The soil cultivation treatments were a stubble disc-harrowing cultivation period followed by mouldboard ploughing and only mouldboard ploughing. The timing of the treatments were autumn or spring. The density and biomass of the aboveground shoots of Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop., Elymus repens (L.) Gould, Sonchus arvensis L. and Stachys palustris L. as well as the total aboveground biomass of the spring cereal crop (oats) were assessed. The control efficiency of C. arvense and S. arvensis was closely related to timing of the cultivation treatments. Cultivation in spring decreased the population of C. arvense and S. arvensis compared to autumn cultivation. For E. repens, timing of the treatments had no significant effect: the important factor was whether stubble cultivation was carried out (best control) or not. The overall best strategy for controlling the present perennial weed population was stubble cultivation followed by ploughing in spring. However, the associated relative late sowing of the spring cereal crop and lowered crop biomass, were important drawbacks.

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Abstract

Quackgrass is a problematic agricultural weed in the temperate zones of the world and is difficult to control without herbicides or intensive tillage. However, it may be possible to control quackgrass with less environmental impact by combining multiple low-intensity control methods. A pot experiment was conducted in July to October 2012 and repeated in June to September 2013 to investigate the effect of rhizome fragmentation, competition from white clover, shoot-cutting frequency, and cutting height on quackgrass. Rhizome fragmentation was expected to result in more, but weaker, quackgrass shoots that would be more vulnerable to shoot cutting and competition. However, by 20 d past planting, rhizome fragmentation did not change the total number of quackgrass shoots per pot, because an increase in main shoots was offset by a decrease in tiller numbers. Rhizome fragmentation did not reduce quackgrass biomass acquisition during the experimental period. Although rhizome fragmentation did reduce total fructan content, it did not enhance the effect of clover competition, shoot-cutting frequency, or shoot-cutting height. Clover competition by itself reduced quackgrass shoot numbers by 72%, rhizome biomass by 81%, and belowground fructan concentration by 10 percentage points, compared with no competition. The more frequently quackgrass shoots were cut, the less biomass quackgrass acquired, and a high shoot-cutting frequency (each time quackgrass reached 2 leaves) resulted in a lower belowground fructan concentration than a low shoot-cutting frequency (at 8 leaves). However, in pots without competition, a higher shoot-cutting frequency resulted in more quackgrass shoots. A lower shoot-cutting height (25 mm) had more impact when shoot cutting was more frequent. In conclusion, rhizome fragmentation did not reduce the number of quackgrass shoots or rhizome biomass, but competition from white clover, a high shoot-cutting frequency, and a low shoot-cutting height strongly suppressed quackgrass biomass and fructan acquisition.

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Abstract

During the past two decades, significant spread of the perennial weeds Juncus effusus (soft rush) and Juncus conglomeratus (compact rush) in coastal parts of Norway seems to have coincided with an observed rise in winter temperatures. This study investigated the frost tolerance (LT50) and effects of moderate frost exposure on rush plant regrowth over time during the period late November to late winter/spring, and photosynthetic activity in late winter/spring. Juncus effusus and J. conglomeratus of physiologically young age (seedlings) displayed similar high frost tolerance (LT50) and did not differ significantly in regenerative ability following prolonged frost exposure. Regrowth capacity generally increased during winter and when stress conditions increased, shoot formation was prioritised over total biomass production. Maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and performance index of photosystem II (PI) were high in late winter/spring, with J. effusus showing higher values than J. conglomeratus. Green, photosynthetically active shoots, which facilitate accumulation of carbohydrates during autumn and even in winter, may provide Juncus spp. with substantial competitiveness in late winter and spring. The results revealed that the dominance of J. effusus over J. conglomeratus in pastures and leys is not due to major differences in winter survival parameters, but probably the higher photosynthetic efficiency observed in J. effusus. Generally higher temperatures during winter and lower frost kill may be contributing to the current increase in rush infestation.

Abstract

Knowledge about the reproduction strategies of invasive species is fundamental for effective control. The invasive Fallopia taxa (Japanese knotweed s.l.) reproduce mainly clonally in Europe, and preventing spread of vegetative fragments is the most important control measure. However, high levels of genetic variation within the hybrid F. × bohemica indicate that hybridization and seed dispersal could be important. In Norway in northern Europe, it is assumed that these taxa do not reproduce sexually due to low temperatures in the autumn when the plants are flowering. The main objective of this study was to examine the genetic variation of invasive Fallopia taxa in selected areas in Norway in order to evaluate whether the taxa may reproduce by seeds in their most northerly distribution range in Europe. Fallopia stands from different localities in Norway were analyzed with respect to prevalence of taxa, and genetic variation within and between taxa was studied using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Taxonomic identification based on morphology corresponded with identification based on simple sequence repeats (SSR) and DNA ploidy levels (8× F. japonica, 6× F. × bohemica and 4× F. sachalinensis). No genetic variation within F. japonica was detected. All F. × bohemica samples belonged to a single AFLP genotype, but one sample had a different SSR genotype. Two SSR genotypes of F. sachalinensis were also detected. Extremely low genetic variation within the invasive Fallopia taxa indicates that these taxa do not reproduce sexually in the region, suggesting that control efforts can be focused on preventing clonal spread. Climate warming may increase sexual reproduction of invasive Fallopia taxa in northern regions. The hermaphrodite F. × bohemica is a potential pollen source for the male-sterile parental species. Targeted eradication of the hybrid can therefore reduce the risk of increased sexual reproduction under future warmer climate.

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Abstract

The success of weed management aimed at depleting the regenerative structures of perennial weeds depends largely on the sprouting activity of rhizome and root buds. Seasonal variation in sprouting of these buds on Cirsium arvense, Sonchus arvensis and Elymus repens was studied for plants collected from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. At 2-week intervals from July to October, 5-cm fragments of roots or rhizomes were cut from plants grown in buckets and planted into soil in pots, half of which were placed immediately into growth chambers at 18 degrees C for 4 weeks. The other half of the pots were initially placed in a dark room at 2 degrees C for 4 weeks before being transferred to the same growth chamber, also for 4 weeks. During the growth chamber period, the numbers of emerged shoots in each pot were counted weekly. The sprouting activity of C. arvense and E. repens was relatively uniform during this period and bud dormancy was not apparent. In all ecotypes of S. arvensis, innate bud dormancy developed during the latter part of the growing season. For all three species, differences in sprouting readiness were found among ecotypes. The results imply that C. arvense and E. repens are more likely to be controlled by mechanical measures in autumn than S. arvensis.

Abstract

Control of dock species are a true bottleneck in the development of grassland based organic forage production in Norway. Rumex obtusifolius, Rumex crispus and Rumex longifolius are among the most important perennial weeds in grassland areas throughout the world. These dock- species are undesired in grasslands because they decrease yields and reduce forage feeding value. The experiment in our study is carried out as a full-factorial design, including key-factors, which may influence dock behaviour significantly. The first factor, (i) date of grassland establishment, may be important for preventing /decreasing the flush of seedlings from seeds as well as shoots from root fragments. The purpose of the second factor, (ii) black fallow, is both false seedbed preparation and decreasing food reserves in underground plant parts. The third factor, (iii) is the use of equipment for cutting the taproot either (a) before ploughing by using a tractor propelled rotovator, or (b) cutting the dock taproot in the same operation as ploughing by using a prototype ¿two layer dockplough¿. The biological background for cutting the taproot before ploughing is that many studies have shown that new shoots only come from the 5 upper cm of the taproot. Furthermore, our hypothesis is that shoots from highly fragmented regenerative parts (the neck) of the taproot placed deep will not reach the soil surface before their reserves are depleted. Experiments were carried out at 3 and 4 locations in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Weed development were assessed as number of emerging seedlings as well as number of sprouting plants from root fragments, both in the year when the treatments were carried out and the following year. The results are yet not completely analyzed, but preliminary results indicate that plants from seeds frequently are more numerous than plants from roots. At least at some locations and years both the use of rotovator and the ¿dock plough¿, has reduced the number of plants from root fragments with approx. 50%. However, our experiments have shown that ¿dock plough¿ prototype has to be improved, especially because it did not cut the taproot near the open furrow, and did not bury the green parts well enough.

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Abstract

The relative effects of using light (2-3 Mg) versus heavier (5-7 Mg) tractors, shallow (15 cm) versus deeper (25 cm) ploughing and on-land versus in-furrow wheel placement during ploughing were investigated from 2003 to 2006 in organic rotations (wheat or barley, green manure, oats with peas) and conventionally fertilized barley. Trials were located on loam soil in south-eastern Norway and silty clay loam in central Norway. Ploughing was performed in spring, when the topsoil moisture content was at or below field capacity, using single furrow ploughs that allowed alternative wheel placement and resulted in complete coverage of the surface by wheels each year (ca. 3 times the normal coverage during ploughing). Low tyre inflation pressures (:<= 80 kPa) were used throughout. The use of a heavy tractor increased topsoil bulk density slightly in the loam soil, and, in combination with in-furrow wheeling, it reduced air-filled pore space and air permeability at 18-22 cm. On the silty clay loam, the use of a heavy tractor did not increase bulk density, but it reduced air-filled pore space throughout the topsoil. In-furrow wheeling reduced air-filled pore space in this soil also, compared to on-land wheeling. Penetration resistance was in this soil always greater at 15-25 cm depth after shallow than after deep ploughing, especially with in-furrow rather than on-land wheeling. Shallow ploughing led on both soils to marked increases in perennial weed biomass compared to deep ploughing. Earthworms were hardly affected by the treatments, but in the loam in 2006 a higher number of individuals were found where the light rather than the heavy tractor had been used. Few significant treatment effects were found on grain yield and quality. Deep ploughing with a light tractor gave the highest wheat yield and protein content in 2 years on the loam soil, and on the silty clay loam the yield of conventionally fertilized barley was higher after deep than after shallow ploughing. In summary, limited evidence was found to support the use of on-land rather than in-furrow wheeling when ploughing is performed at favourable soil moisture and with tractor weights < 5 Mg. There is, however, reason to be wary of using heavy tractors (> 5 Mg), even under such conditions. With regard to ploughing depth in organic rotations dominated by cereals, the need to combat perennial weeds by deep ploughing weighs probably more heavily than any possible beneficial effect of shallow ploughing on stimulating nutrient turnover. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.