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Exploring the Biology and Phenology of the Invasive Weed Parthenium hysterophorus

In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the spread of the invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorus in agricultural and non-agricultural habitats across Israel. With no control, P. hysterophorus can cause up to 97% yield reduction. Here, we investigate the biology and phenology of this weed and examine the effectiveness of various selective and non-selective herbicides aimed to improve  P. hysterophorus control.

Project led by : Sahar Malka

In collaboration with: Dr. Ran Lati and Professor Hanan Eizenberg


Risk assessment and development of a regional system for the management of Ricinus communis, an infestation source for Thaumatotibia leucotreta

Ricinus communis is a perennial invasive woody shrub that have invaded Israel over a hundred years ago. R. communis invade non-native habitats with frequent or intense disturbance regimes. Thus, changes in a-biotic conditions favors R. communis germination and may induce its competitive abilities over native plant species. Recently, this species gained renowned attention since it was identified as a secondary host for the quarantine pest false codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta. T. leucotreta poses a severe threat to agricultural tree crops and growers monitor and treat it routinely. This study aims to investigate the distribution of R. communis and ways to mitigate T. leucotreta damage.

Project led by : Netta Salomon

In collaboration with: Dr. Asaf Sade, Dr. Avi Bar Masada

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Studying the phenology, biology and herbicide response of the invasive weed Solanum rostratum

Solanum rostratum is an invasive weed species that invaded Israel in the 1950's. The weed appears in several germination flashes, from early spring until late summer. Recently, an increase in its distribution range was observed, alongside identification of new populations in the northern part of Israel. This study aimed to investigate the biology, phenology and efficacy of herbicide application for the control of S. rostratum.

Project led by : Jackline Abu-Nassar

In collaboration with: Professor Hanan Eizenberg and Professor Assaf Distelfeld

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Weed Management in Allium Crops

During the past few years, farmers across Israel have reported on an increasing abundance of Fabaceae species in Allium crops. Allium crops such as garlic and onion are considered weak competitors with low tolerance for weed infestation. In addition, their crop growing seasons, which is generally longer compared to other field crops, enables repeated germination cycles of those weeds. The nature of Allium crops makes it difficult to use mechanical control at critical growth stages. Furthermore, relatively to other field crops, low number of herbicides are registered for weed control in Allium crops. It is important to mention that the window of opportunity for herbicide application is relatively narrow, due to high crop sensitivity at early and late growth stages. Thus, increasing the ability of weeds to further establish in these crops.

Our main objectives are: to identify the problematic weed species, study their biology and phenology and to 3) develop alternative weed management practices for Allium crops.

Project led by : Shaharit Ziv

In collaboration with: Prof. Avraham Gamliel


Controlling invasive Ambrosia species

Ambrosia species are a perennial invasive weeds, that have invaded Israel  in several occasions. Traditional management of Ambrosia species mainly includes the application of various non-selective herbicides. However, better understanding of the biology and phenology of these weeds may increase herbicide efficacy. The objectives of this research are: to study the biology and phenology of these invasive weeds, and to target more sensitive life stages in order to increase herbicide efficiency.

Project led by : Danielle Vaknin

In collaboration with: Professor Martin Goldway and Professor Hanan Eizenberg

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Reuse of dredged riverbed sediments in agricultural fields

During rainfall events, soil particle that erode from the surrounding agricultural fields, eventually deposit in the stream channel. The Purpose of the current project is to investigate the potential reuse of dredged sediments, accumulated in Nahala stream, by means of: (i) assessing the seed bank composition and soil quality of the dredged sediments, (ii) examine different treatment methods (e.g. solarization, co-composting) aimed to reduce seed viability, in order to sustainably implement dredged sediments in the nearby agricultural fields.  


Project led by: Dr. Smadar Tanner

In collaboration with: Dr. Yael Laor and Dr. Roei egozi


Soil microbiome and parasitic weeds

Holoparastic weeds such as broomrape (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp.) are considered highly noxious weeds that may cause severe damage and high yield losses in many fields and vegetable crops worldwide. These parasitic weeds have acquired all nutrients and water from their host through a root connection. However, germination of these species can only occur when specific root exudates are released from the parasite-host root. Strigolactones are a class of terpenoid lactones that were initially characterized as root-derived signals that induce the germination of parasitic plants. Strigolactones were also shown to have an important function as an inducing factor for the growth of mycorrhiza fungus and other soil microorganisms. In our study, we investigate the triangle relationships between the host plant, soil microbiome, and the parasitic weed.

Project led by : Amit Wallach

In collaboration with: Professor Assaf Distelfeld and Professor Hanan Eizenberg

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