Cover Crops Help Tree Seedlings Beat Weed Competition

Planting cover crops, such as rye grass or clover, can be an important step in turning fragile or marginal lands into productive forests. By slowing the spread of weeds, cover crops help seedlings compete for sunlight, nutrients and water, with reduced need for herbicides or other weed control.

Some cover crops also enrich and stabilize the soil. They are particularly useful in preventing slopes from eroding which, in turn, reduces the amount of silt carried into waterways. A tractor, seeder and mower are needed to grow cover crops in large areas. This Extension Note explains how to choose, plant and grow cover crops in order to improve the growth of hardwood seedlings.

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