1. Cover Crops To Provide Nitrogen
Cover crops add nitrogen to soils through one of two methods: nitrogen fixing and nitrogen scavening. Nitrogen-fixing legumes such as clover, vetch, and peas convert atmospheric nitrogen in soil into forms that can be used by your plants. Nitrogen scavenging plants capturing excess nitrogen before it can run-off, and store the nitrogen in plant tissues. Excellent nitrogen scavengers include radish, rye, sudangrass, and sorghum-sudan hybrids. Grains are also good scavengers.
2. Cover Crops To Improve Soil Structure
One of the best cover crops for aerating compacted soils and improving water infiltration is tillage radish, or daikon radish. Clover, vetch, rye, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, and mustards all promote healthy soil structure. These cover crops produce byproducts that help soil particles adhere to one another resulting in a good crumbly textured soil.
3. Cover Crops To Add Organic Matter or Biomass
Organic matter provides many benefits to soils. Most cover crops provide some amount of organic matter to soils, but plants differ in the benefits they provide. Succulent plants, such as legumes (clover, patridge pea, and vetch), break down quickly in soils. They provide nutrients, but leave behind little lasting biomass. Fibrous plant tissues such as grasses and grains, break down more slowly. They will tie up nutrients, but build stable humus, or organic matter, in soils. Perennial clovers such as white and red clover can provide both benefits, with the leaves breaking down quickly while the roots and stems contribute to biomass accumulation.
4. Cover Crops To Reduce Soil Erosion
Cover crops that provide good cover and a dense root system help stabilize soils and combat erosion. Clovers, annual ryegrass, Austrian winter peas, crown vetch, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, rapeseed, mustards, and cowpeas are good cover crops for erosion protection.
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Our Pollinator Cover Crop Seed Mix features a varied mix of easy-to-grow legumes, including Clover, Alfalfa, Vetch, and Sainfoin. Small white, pink, purple, and gold flowers attract ...Learn More
Pollinator Cover Crop Seed Mix Balansa Clover, Berseem Clover, Yellow Sweet Clover, Sainfoin, Hairy Vetch & Alfalfa Trifolium michelianum Savi, Trifolium alexandrinum, Melilotus officinalis, Onobrychis vicifolia, Vicia villosa & Medicago sativa As low as $9.95
Per 1 Pound
Our Pollinator Cover Crop Seed Mix features a varied mix of easy-to-grow legumes, including Clover, Alfalfa, Vetch, and Sainfoin. Small white, pink, purple, and gold flowers attract and nourish pollinators. Hardworking legumes suppress weeds, fix nutrients into the soil, improve soil condition, and prevent erosion. This is an excellent choice for groundcover and covercrops, as well as lawn replacement, or adding to a wildflower meadow. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.Learn More
5. Cover Crops To Manage Pests
Some cover crops produce compounds that help fight soil-borne pests, while others are excellent at attracting beneficial insects. Here are a few pest-fighting plants:
- Crimson Clover: Blooms to supports beneficial insects
- Buckwheat: Supports large populations of beneficial insects and pollinators
- Cereal Rye: Reduces soil-borne diseases and root-knot nematodes. Not suitable for crops impacted by cutworms and wireworms.
- Wheat: Suppresses diseases and nematodes
- Mustards: Suppresses nematodes
- Rapeseed: Suppresses Rhizoctonia root rot fungus
6. Cover Crops To Suppress and Control Weeds
Cover crops suppress weeds by preventing seed germination, through competition, or by producing a chemical deterrent in the roots, called allelopathy.
- Seed Germination: Hairy vetch, buckwheat, and daikon or forage radish reduce light penetration into soils, which suppresses weed seed germination.
- Competition: Dense-growing cover crops and those with aggressive root systems manage weeds through competition - choose peas, clovers, buckwheat, rye, and oats.
- Allelopathy: Buckwheat, Brassicas including rapeseed, mustards, and radishes, as well as sorghum and sorghum–sudangrass hybrids, and subterranean clover produce allelopathic substances. Winter rye is effective against pigweed, lambsquarter, purslane, and crabgrass. Some crops such as lettuce are sensitive to allelopathy, while others benefit, so use with cation.
7. Cover Crops To Improve and Manage Nutrients
Nitrogen is not the only nutrient managed through cover crops. Cereal rye is excellent for nutrient cycling. Buckwheat and brassicas improve availability of phosphorous in soils. Though known for nitrogen fixation, legumes such as clover, vetch, and partridge pea also help cycle phosphorous in soils.
8. Cover Crops To Provide Lasting Residue or Mulch