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Sunflowers stop germination of which seeds? Kill which plants?  RSS feed

 
sam na
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Hi I know sunflowers are alleopathic, but I can't find much about which other plants they affect.

I collated some research on walnut alleopathy here: http://walnuts.pbworks.com/w/page/32550670/Walnut%20companions

Does anyone know of anything similar for sunflowers (helianthus annuus)?

Do they affect Apples? Potatoes? Grasses? Just at germination? Ongoing? What's the chemical they secrete?

I plan to plant 50 for chicken food and would like to know what I am getting into..

I read this but it doesn't really answer my questions: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=14964

Thanks

Sam
 
Bryan Jasons
Posts: 62
Location: Maine
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I plant sunflowers with grains and vegetables and the effect is minimal in my opinion. Probably just due to the nitrogen and nutrient hogging, and some shade production. I wouldn't hesitate to plant pretty much anything with sunflowers or after them, or to use sunflower stalks as mulch with other plants, but maybe other people have had crop failures they would like to share.
 
sam na
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Brian thanks for your reply. Good to hear first hand reports it's not too bad. How many years have you been growing them? In quantity? Or just a couple.

Since posting I found this:


Sunflower is well known for its allelopathic compounds. Several phenols and terpenes have been reported in various cultivars of sunflower (Spring et al. 1992; Macias et al. 2002). http://www.regional.org.au/au/allelopathy/2005/2/7/2252_anjum.htm

Thanks

Sam
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I didn't know about this for years and have always had sunflowers in my gardens. After some experiments and observation I do take the allelopathy seriously. I still grow sunflowers though! We talk about sunflower allelopathy in this thread and also this one

I would encourage you to grow the sunflowers and observe the underplantings. I have had good luck with pole beans growing up sunflowers and with chard growing next to them. I wonder how clovers would do under there?

 
Bryan Jasons
Posts: 62
Location: Maine
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I've grown them for 2-3 years, and mixed all over the field. It's maybe a 1/2 acre area, so quite a few plants.

I looked through the studies quickly and it seems that one way sunflowers suppress other plants is by preventing the germination of seeds by inducing oxidative stress :

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2634163/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17216362

And another report claimed that soil bacteria and fungi can reduce oxidative stress from drought and excess salinity (although, as far as I know, this is in plants and not germinating seeds specifically) :

"Co-inoculation of lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L.) with PGPR Pseudomonas mendocina and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ( Glomus intraradices or G. mosseae ) augmented an antioxidant catalase under severe drought conditions, suggesting that they can be used in inoculants to alleviate the oxidative damage elicited by drought."

http://www.bashanfoundation.org/kloepper/kloepperabiotic.pdf

So my random guess is that soil conditions could outweigh the allelopathy. But then again I'm biased towards not caring about these sorts of things.

 
Bryan Jasons
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Location: Maine
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"The rapid degradation of juglone and other suspected allelochemicals by soil bacteria make it unlikely that these compounds are important mediators of plant-plant interactions under natural conditions. " http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24276429
 
sam na
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Thanks Brian

I guess i'll just have to try it and see..

Thanks

Sam
 
Theresa McCuaig
Posts: 30
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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We planted a dozen Siberian Mammoth sunflowers last year around a 144-square-foot perimeter to encourage goldfinches. The sunflowers killed very hardy perennials and self-seeding annuals, such as French sorrel, Arctic kiwi, Russian sage, lilies, iris, redbud, Hardy Chicago fig, kinnickinnick, and calendula. We can't grow any legume species in our yard, and I'm wondering if the sunflowers would cause that side-effect. I realize legumes are very sensitive to air and water pollution, and we have acid rain, due to a nearby steel smelter. Might be a combo of the allelopathy + pollution.
 
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