Mayweeds — Matricaria spp. and Tripleurospermum spp. — are common and high profile annual or hardy-annual composite weeds. There are several widely distributed species including Scented Mayweed (Matricaria recutita), Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) and Pineappleweed (Matricaria matricarioides).
Mature plants are large, fleshy and robust and can be competitive with the crop. Their presence can have a significant impact on crop harvesting, moisture of the seed at harvesting and the level of admixture left in the harvested sample.
Scented Mayweed germinates all year, with particular flushes in spring and late summer to early autumn. It has a small seed that can only germinate from shallow depth and its prevalence may be favoured by minimum tillage cultivation systems. Characteristic flowers with yellow centres and white petals are normally seen in late spring and early summer. One plant can produce 10,000 seeds.
Scentless Mayweed will germinate at most times of year. Peaks of germination are normally March and August to October. Germination of seed only occurs if they are near the soil surface. Flowering can occur from late spring through to autumn with each plant capable of producing up to 5,000 seeds.
The germination pattern of Pineappleweed is similar to that for Scented Mayweed but with the main flush being in spring. It appears to thrive in soil that is constantly disturbed and compacted, often being particularly prevalent in gateways and on field headlands. Plants flower in summer, without the characteristic white petals of other Mayweed species, and can produce 5,000 seeds per plant.
Control is achieved using products such as Spitfire, Starane XL or Galaxy and Dakota.
while resistance is increasing across the UK, mayweed is still controlled by products with different modes of action such as AstroKerb, Dow Shield and Galera in oilseed rape, and Galaxy and Dakota in cereals. Spitfire and Starane XL may still provide control depending on the resistance mechanism – ideally use them in conjunction with a different mode of action.