Potential suppressive effects of Mexican poppy weed residues on germination and early growth of maize and pearl millet crops.
Argemone ochroleuca allelochemical properties have been reported but not empirically tested on economically important staple cereal crops. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the potential Allelopathic effects of the alien weed's residues on germination and early-growth of maize (Zea mays L.) and Pearl millet (Pennisertum glaucum). Allelopathic effects of A. ochroleuca on maize and millet seed germination were tested in a 2 (shoot and root) x 11 (0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100g/L water) factorial treatment arrangement in CRD in an incubator placed in a laboratory. Whereas effects of the weed extracts on the same crops' early-growth were tested in a 2 (shoot and roots) x 8 (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14g ground-powdered extracts) factorial arrangement in RCBD under laboratory conditions. Maize and millet germination percentage, germination speed, mean germination time, mean daily germination, plumule and radicle length were measured for germination test, whereas, plant height, stem diameter, root and shoot mass were used as indicators of A. ochroleuca suppression of early plant growth. Relative to untreated control, concentration equal to and greater than 10g/L aqueous extracts of A. ochroleuca reduced millet and maize seed germination variables by 10-100% and 28-56%, respectively, while early-growth variables were reduced by 66-100% and 4-37%, respectively. Argemone ochroleuca shoot extracts were more suppressive than root extracts on germination and early growth of the two crops. In conclusion, A. ochroleuca Allelopathic effects were concentration and plant-part dependent, inhibitory effects increased with concentrations, with extracts from shoots being more Allelopathic on measured variables when compared to root extracts. As A. ochroleuca continues to spread yearly without any control strategies in place, a threat exist on maize and Pearl millet production especially in communal farming areas where improved management strategies are non- existent.