Effects of annual precipitation pattern variation and different cultivation modes on the growth of Amaranthus retroflexus and Glycine max

JIANG Baiwen 1 LI Jing 1 CHEN Rui 1 LU Ping 1 LI Qi 1 XIAO Tongyu 1 BAI Yamei 1 ZHANG Xianfeng 2 LI Yiqi1

(1.College of Resources and Environment, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030)
(2.Experiment Practice and Demonstration Center, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030)

【Abstract】Global climate change will alter the temporal and spatial distributions of precipitation patterns. The effects of precipitation changes on crop seed germination and growth have been previously investigated. However, there has been limited research on the effects of precipitation changes on how invasive weeds compete with crops. Exploring the competition between exotic weeds and native crops under different annual precipitation patterns and cultivation modes will provide a theoretical basis to control alien weeds with impending changes to the global climate. In this study, we assessed how precipitation altered the competitive dynamics between two plants, Amaranthus retroflexus, a widespread invasive weed in agricultural ecosystem in Northeast China, and Glycine max, one of the important native crops in China. We conducted pot experiments under three patterns of annual precipitation: the average annual precipitation pattern (the average total precipitation amount of growing season of the recent 30 years), the deficient annual precipitation pattern (20% lower than the average value), and the plentiful annual precipitation pattern (20% higher than the average value). The pots were placed underneath a rainout shelter, and two plants of the same species were seeded per pot (sole species) or two plants of different species were seeded per pot (mixed species). We found that the plant height and total biomass of A. retroflexus and G. max under the average precipitation annual pattern were higher than those under deficient precipitation pattern, but lower than those under the plentiful precipitation pattern. The root to shoot ratios of the two plants at the early growing season were all the highest under the deficient precipitation pattern, indicating that both plants could adapt to the arid environment by increasing the root biomass allocation and decreasing the shoot biomass allocation. Under all the annual precipitation patterns, the plant height, relative growth rate and total biomass of mixture G. max were significantly less than solely planted G. max, while A. retroflexus showed the opposite trend. These results indicate that interspecific competition significantly inhibited the growth of G. max, but promoted the growth of A. retroflexus, suggesting asymmetric competition between the species. In general, the competitive ability of G. max increased with the increase in precipitation; whereas that of A. retroflexus increased with the decrease in precipitation. The results indicated that A. retroflexus could successfully invade G. max cropland under all three precipitation scenarios, and maintain a high plant height, relative growth rate, and biomass over a wide range of annual precipitation variation. These biological characters of A. retroflexus may allow it to become a successfully globally invasive weed, and drought may favor its invasion of G. max cropland.

【Keywords】 exotic weed; native crop; annual precipitation pattern; cultivation mode; growth;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (31770582) Heilongjiang Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (C2017018) Academic Key Project of Northeast Agricultural University (17XG08)

Download this article


    [1]. (1) Zhang X (2016) The effects of precipitation fluctuation and different cultivation models on the photosynthetic characteristics of Amaranthus retroflexus. Master’s dissertation, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin (in Chinese with English abstract). [^Back]

    [2]. (1) Zhang X (2016) The effects of precipitation fluctuation and different cultivation models on the photosynthetic characteristics of Amaranthus retroflexus. Master’s dissertation, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin (in Chinese with English abstract). [^Back]


    Bai X, Ta L, Zhao MW, Liu CC, Wei GY, Cui LT, Zeng GJ, Qin J (2016) New research progress on alien invasive plant Amaranthus retroflexus L. from 2010 to 2015. Crops, 173 (4), 12–19 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Bazzaz FA, Garbutt K, Reekie EG, Williams WE (1989) Using growth analysis to interpret competition between a C3 and a C4 annual under ambient and elevated CO2. Oecologia, 79, 223–235.

    Blumenthal D, Chimner RA, Welker JM, Morgan JA (2008) Increased snow facilitates plant invasion in mixed grass prairie. New Phytologist, 179, 440–448.

    Bonifas KD, Lindqiust JL (2009) Effects of nitrogen supply on the root morphology of corn and velvetleaf. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 32, 1371–1382.

    Bradley BA, Blumenthal DM, Wilcove DS, Ziska DS (2010) Predicting plant invasions in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25, 310–318.

    Caplan JS, Yeakley JA (2010) Water relations advantages for invasive Rubus armeniacus over two native ruderal congeners. Plant Ecology, 210, 169–179.

    Cong X, Wu Y, Lu P, Xu NT, Liang H, Tian QY, Wang P, Zhang DX (2013) The effects of nitrogen fluctuation on the maximum net photosynthetic rate and photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) and soybean (Glycine max). Crops, 152 (1), 81–85 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Daehler CC (2003) Performance comparisons of co-occurring native and alien invasive plants: Implications for conservation and restoration. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 34, 183–211.

    Davis MA, Grime JP, Thompson K (2000) Fluctuating resources in plant communities: A general theory of invasibility. Journal of Ecology, 88, 528–534.

    Dawson W, Rohr RP, Kleunen MV, Fischer M (2012) Alien plant species with a wider global distribution are better able to capitalize on increased resource availability. New Phytologist, 194, 859–867.

    Dong QZ, Yang XY, Zhang Y, Xue H, Liu LL (2006) Effect of inadequate rainfall on yield and relative traits in soybean. Soybean Science & Technology, (3), 5–8 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Dukes J, Mooney H (1999) Does global change increase the success of biological invaders? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 14, 135–139.

    Dunbar KR, Facelli JM (1999) The impact of a novel invasive species, Orbea variegata (African carrion flower), on the chenopod shrublands of South Australia. Journal of Arid Environments, 41, 37–48.

    Ewe SM, Sternberg LDSL (2002) Seasonal water-use by the invasive exotic, Schinus terebinthifolius, in native and disturbed communities. Oecologia, 133, 441–448.

    Funk JL, Vitousek PM (2007) Resource-use efficiency and plant invasion in low-resource systems. Nature, 446, 1079–1081.

    Hao CY, Zhao W, Zhao TQ (2011) Comparative research on regional respond to global climate change in China. Area Research and Development, 30 (3), 56–61 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Harrington R, Brown B, Reich P (1989) Ecophysiology of exotic and native shrubs in southern Wisconsin. Oecologia, 80, 356–367.

    Huntington TG (2006) Evidence for intensification of the global water cycle: Review and synthesis. Journal of Hydrology, 319, 83–95.

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2012) Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Report of a Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the IPCC. Summary for Policymakers. http://www.ipcc.ch (accessed on 2018-01-01).

    Knezevic SZ, Weise SF, Swanton CJ (2017) Interference of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) in corn (Zea mays). Weed Science, 42, 568–573.

    Lovelli S, Perniola M, Ferrara A, Amato M, Tommaso TD (2010) Photosynthetic response to water stress of pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) in a southern-mediterranean area. Weed Science, 58, 126–131.

    Lu P, Jin CG, Zhang X, Jiang BW, Yan NN, Xiao TY, Bai YM, Li JX, Chen R, Li J (2017) The responses of the ecophysiological characteristics of Amaranthus retroflexus and Glycine max to seasonal rainfall fluctuations. Crops, 177 (2), 119–125 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Lu P, Li JX, Jin CG, Jiang BW, Bai YM (2016) Different growth responses of an invasive weed and a native crop to nitrogen pulse and competition. PLoS ONE, 11, e0156285.

    Lu P, Liang H, Wang HY, Bai YM, Gao FJ, Song G, Wu Y, Tian QY (2010) Research progress on exotic invasive weed Amaranthus retroflexus. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 29, 1662–1670 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Mc Connaughay KDM, Coleman JS (1999) Biomass allocation in plants: Ontogeny or optimality? A test along three resource gradients. Ecology, 80, 2581–2593.

    Poorter L (1999) Growth response of 15 rain forest tree species to a light gradient: The relative importance of morphological and physiological traits. Functional Ecology, 13, 396–410.

    Vaughn LG, Bernards ML, Arkebauer TJ, Lindqiust JL (2016) Corn and velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) growth and transpiration efficiency under varying water supply. Weed Science, 64, 596–604.

    Xu GH, Wang HY, Liu J (2009) Effects of RRS on the amount and diversity of bacteria in rhizospheric soil. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 29, 4535–4541 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    Yang LH, Bastow JL, Spence KO, Wright AN (2008) What can we learn from resource pulse. Ecology, 89, 621–634.

    Zheng YL, Feng YL, Liu WX, Liao ZY (2009) Growth, biomass allocation, morphology, and photosynthesis of invasive Eupatorium adenophorum and its native congeners grown at four irradiances. Plant Ecology, 203, 263–271.

    Zou WX, Han XZ, Jiang H, Yang CB (2009) Characteristics of precipitation in black soil region and response of soil moisture dynamics in Northeast China. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 27 (9), 196–202 (in Chinese with English abstract).

This Article


CN: 11-3247/Q

Vol 26, No. 11, Pages 1158-1167

November 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • Footnote