I'm just curious now, after the creosote discussion, if anyone has found any good lists or information allelopathic species in arid regions, and HOW they are allelopathic. Looking for information on this, many times it seems to be sparse, or like John mentioned in the creosote discussion, under dispute.
I'm also curious about whether anyone has done a lot of research on using these plants.
For example, are some more allelopathic to annuals vs. perennials, to wildflowers vs. trees, that sort of distinction?
Has anyone ever used those that inhibit sprouting to help keep things non-competitive for a bit AFTER the desired plants are sprouted and on their way, possibly?
Admittedly, I start thinking about this when I see neighbors planting yellow flowers and then spraying weed killer over their yard and all I can think is: there's a low water usage, native yellow flower that's similar looking, but it had chemicals in the leaves that inhibit the growth of weeds all around it. Why not plant the right plant, avoid the chemicals, and save your money for something else instead, you know?
There is the chemist's way of approaching the problem, which is to see if there is a specific compound (i.e. juglone) that is responsible for the allelopathy. That leads to isolating the compound, seeing if it can be synthesized in the lab, and that leads to seeing how it can be modified, studying how modifying the molecule changes the allelopathic properties, the molecular mechanism of action, etc.
But other sciences have their own way of approaching the problem. The chemist's way is how people come up with the idea of making synthetic herbicides like glyphosate, which opens the Pandora's box of unintended consequences. The problem with the more natural way that you refer to is that it requires a whole lot more data than we collectively have at our disposal. It's a lot more expedient, not to mention more profitable for a chemical manufacturing company, to cook up mass quantities of a specific molecule than it is to know which plant to prescribe as the natural cure.
This is a little off the topic of allelopathy, but I should relate my story about using a natural cure yesterday. My neighbor has some eggplants that don't look so well. Knowing that we have some Fusarium problems with the soil in the neighborhood, I made up a root drench of mustard leaves and compost tea and gave them a good drenching. We'll wait and see if that perks them up a bit.
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