Agronomic Crops

Cover Crops for Weed and Nutrient Management

Publication Date

Summer 9-1-2020

Publication Number

LGP 1088


Cover cropping is a sustainable conservation practice that can play a major role in enhancing the health of agroecosystems. Cover crops provide the following benefits: reduced soil erosion, enhanced soil fertility, reduced nutrient runoff, suppression of weeds, reduction in the incidence of diseases and insects, and improved biodiversity and wildlife. Cover crops can suppress weed populations due their fast emergence and rapid canopy development that shades out the soil which reduces emergence of small seeded annual weeds. Cover crop residue retention in the crop rotation can also conserve soil water and improve nutrient cycling. Cover crops can absorb and retain excess plant nutrients (i.e., reducing nutrient runoff) making it available in the soil for later in the crop production cycle. In this article, the influence of cover crops on suppressing weeds and strategies for better weed management and benefits of cover crops on nutrient management are discussed.

Publication Type



Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension

Publisher City

Clemson, SC

Target Audiences

extension agents, soil water conservation specialists, growers