GROW Resources on Cover Crops and Weed Suppression 

Cover crops can be an important part of a farmer’s weed control strategy.

But successfully using cover crops for weed suppression is far from simple. That’s why GROW’s Weed Management Toolbox contains a large section on managing cover crops with weeds in mind.

The comprehensive toolbox section unpacks a large list of issues that farmers may encounter: 

  • How cover crops affect annual and perennial weed populations
  • How to establish a good cover crop
  • Which cover crops work best for weed suppression
  • The role cover crop biomass plays in weed suppression
  • How to terminate a cover crop
  • The economic calculations behind cover crops
A thick mat of cereal rye cover crop is helping suppress weeds and conserve moisture in this southern Virginia cornfield. (Photo credit: Emily Unglesbee, GROW)

Perhaps the biggest fear when venturing into cover crops is that the cover crop might become a weed itself. Learning how and when to terminate a cover crop is a critical part of successfully using them for weed suppression.

GROW’s Cover Crop Termination section of the toolkit examines each of the main termination options that have been tested by researchers and farmers: 

  • Winterkill
  • Roller-crimping
  • Tillage
  • Mowing
  • Herbicides

This part of the toolbox also contains videos on the various cover crop termination options, as well as a look into how one farmer, Trey Hill of Harborview Farms, uses planting green to control weeds on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Trey Hill runs a roller-crimper through a field of cover crops in Maryland, to terminate them and ready the field for planting. (Photo credit: Claudio Rubione, GROW)

Finally, don’t forget the GROW’s Resources page, which contains videos, bulletins, case studies and podcasts on using cover crops for weed suppression, under the Cover Crops tab.

    Article by Emily Unglesbee, GROW