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Makhan S. Bhullar, Simerjeet Kaur, Tarundeep Kaur and Amit J. Jhala

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is one of four major food crops in the world. Weed control is a major component in potato production and has been accomplished using different methods, including but not limited to the use of herbicides and straw mulch. A combination of preemergence herbicide and straw mulch may improve weed control; however, no information is available for combining both methods, along with their effects on weed control, weed density, and potato tuber yields. The objective of this study was to evaluate weed control in potato using atrazine or straw mulch applied alone at different rates or in combination. A field experiment was conducted for 4 years from 2006 to 2010 in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. Common weeds included burclover (Medicago arabica), common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), littleseed canarygrass (Phalaris minor), purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus), scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), swinecress (Coronopus didymus), and toothed dock (Rumex dentatus). Results suggested that atrazine applied alone was not very effective and resulted in 0% to 78% control depending on the weed species being investigated at 30 days after treatment (DAT). Straw mulch applied alone at any rate provided ≥90% control of toothed dock, but control of other weed species was variable. A combination of atrazine and straw mulch at any rate usually resulted in >90% weed control at 30 DAT, except for swinecress and purple nutsedge. This treatment combination also resulted in weed density as low as 0 plant/m2 for common lambsquarters, scarlet pimpernel, and toothed dock. Potato tuber weight and yield was significantly higher in all treatments compared with untreated control without difference among them. It is concluded that a combination of straw mulch and atrazine can provide effective weed control in potato.