Jun 1, 2021
Watermelon biomass, yield compete with morningglory

Morningglory grows fast and is highly competitive. It emerges from up to three inches deep and is hard to control with soil-applied herbicides. New research from Purdue University on morningglory interference in watermelon shows even a few morningglory plants can dramatically reduce yield.

Researchers looked at morningglory densities of 0, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 morningglory plants per 16-foot by 16-foot plot. Canopy interference, biomass and yield were evaluated.

Three morningglory plants per plot reduced the watermelon crop canopy by 20% to 30% and had a devastating effect on biomass.

RELATED: IPM brings higher watermelon yields››

“Three morningglory plants reduced watermelon biomass by 85%,” said Jeannine Arana, Purdue University researcher. Biomass for watermelon included leaves and stems. Biomass for the morningglory included leaves, stems and seed capsules. Arana spoke on the research at the recent Indiana Hort Conference held virtually in 2021.

The shading by the morningglory plants and reduced watermelon biomass greatly reduced the yield in the plots. “Three morningglory plants reduced yield by about 50%,” Arana said. The morningglory also complicated harvest when the morningglory and watermelon vines became intertwined.

— Dean Peterson, VGN correspondent


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