Accumulation of macronutrients in cowpea and weeds in competition and under soil water deficit
The ability of a plant species to succeed in colonization of agroecosystem depends on its efficiency in the use of growth resources even in deficient conditions. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of competition and water deficit in the soil on the accumulation of macronutrients of Vigna unguiculata L. Walp., Commelina benghalensis L. and Waltheria indica L. The study was conducted in a greenhouse, in randomized block design, with four replications. The treatments were arranged in a 5 × 2 factorial, with the first factor corresponding to types of interaction among species (V. unguiculata + C. benghalensis; V. unguiculata + W. indica; V. unguiculata in monoculture, C. benghalensis in monoculture and W. indica in monoculture), and the second of water regimes (irrigated and water deficit). The water deficit differently affects macronutrient content on the species, with decreased of K, Ca and Mg in cowpea, and N, P, K and Ca in W. indica. For C. benghalensis, the water deficit does not reduce the macronutrient contents on the plant. The competition between plants intensifies the effects of water deficit only on C. benghalensis, with a decreased on the content of all macronutrients studied. Under irrigated conditions, competition between plants was more damaging the weeds compared to cowpea. The C. benghalensis specie, free from interference, has a high potential for nutrient extraction under irrigated and water deficit regimes.