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J Exp Bot. 2000 Mar;51(344):605-15.

Effects on the growth of carrots (Daucus carota L.), cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.) and onion (Allium cepa L.) of restricting the ability of the plants to intercept resources.

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  • 1Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne, Warwick, UK.


The objective of this paper is to assess the size and penetration of edge effects in carrot, cabbage and onion field crops and the extent to which these edge effects are modified by the presence of aerial or soil competition between the crop rows. In all three crops, large weight differences developed between the plants in the edge rows and those in the central rows. There was no indication of plant weight fluctuating between large and small values with each successive row in from the edge, as suggested by others. In carrot and onion, edge effects were greatly reduced by the presence of either white reflective aerial partitions or soil partitions, indicating that these species competed for both light and soil resources in UK field conditions. In cabbage, the mere presence of clear aerial partitions between rows reduced edge effects and there was little effect of soil partitions. This indicates the predominance of shoot over root competition in this species. The differences between species are possibly related to the architectural flexibility of their shoots. These results suggest that, within crops, carrot and onion plants compete for light over a distance of about 20 cm in each direction and for below-ground resources over a distance of about 50 cm in each direction. For cabbage, interactions between plants appeared to be dominated by the requirement for sufficient space to deploy the shoots for efficient light interception.

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