Long-term monitoring of arable lands infestation in the steppe zone of Ukraine
Arable lands in Ukraine are heavily infested with weed seeds. However, their actual potential infestation is very changeable and has not yet been reliably established; besides, the available data are contradictory. Therefore, the goal of our work was to identify the dynamics of changes and the nature of arable lands infestation in the Steppe zones of Ukraine based on the results of multi-year monitoring. The researches were conducted in the Steppe zone of Ukraine, which included three subzones as follows: Northern Steppe, Southern Steppe and Dry Steppe. Soil samples were taken in late autumn, winter or early spring periods in order to determine the weed seeds content. It has been established that over the past 25 years, potential soil infestation in the subzones of the Northern Steppe and Southern Steppe has increased by 2.5 times, while in Dry Steppe it has increased by 2.8 times and has reached 227.7–235.7 thousand pcs/m2. Such soil infestation by weed seeds exceeds the economic threshold of harmfulness by 75–80 times. The species composition of weed seeds was represented by 83–93 species. Amaranthus retroflexus, Echinochloa crus-galli, Setaria viridis and Setaria glauca predominated in the total seed’s composition. The seeds ratio of various species of weeds in the soil has changed over the past 25 years. The roles of Amaranthus retroflexus, Chenopodium album, Setaria viridis, Fumaria schleicheri and Descurainia sophia has decreased, while the role of Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Cyclachaena xanthiifolia, Xanthium albinum, Lactuca serriola and others has increased. The ratio of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species was approximately equal, that is 50.8% and 49.2%. The number of seedlings of weeds has increased by 32% over the past 20 years and reached 1.511 pcs/m2. In the group of spring weeds, the number of Xanthium albinum, Cyclachaena xanthiifolia and Ambrosia artemisiifolia seedlings has increased, while the number of Fumaria schleicheri, Chenopodium album and Sinapis arvensis seedlings has decreased. Among the winter and wintering weeds, the role of such ephemeral as Microthlaspi perfolatium, Holosteum umbellatum and Viola arvensis has increased, while Consolida regalis, Sisymbrium loeselii and Descurainia sophia has decreased. The infestation of arable lands with perennial and parasitic species has increased.
Key words: Ukraine; Steppe zones; Arable lands; Potential infestation; Weeds
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