Cover crops for Zone 9

nickrosesnJuly 11, 2014

This will be my first year using cover crops and some help. I live in zone 9 San Mateo,CA and we have some mild winters. Except for last year. We had a month or more of night time temps in the 20's and 30's.

Anyway my corn is done and I will be pulling it out and chopping it up for either compost or putting it back into the dirt where it grew. I already have buckwheat and crimson clover. Is there any grasses that I can use that don't need herbicide to kill and that can be killed without tilling it in? I was thinking of annual rye but it seems like you either have to use roundup or tilling it in to kill it.

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Annual Ryegrass is sometimes used and recommended as a cover/green manure crop but many of us think it is a "weed", an unwanted plant, because of its ability to self seed.
I would stick with Buckwheat, Cereal or Winter, or Field Rye, Wheat, Oats, the grains and stay away from the grasses.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:03AM
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With the ones that you mentioned, Cereal Rye, Wheat, Oats are they easy to kill with out herbicide? Would just mowing them kill them? I would be planting my corn in March or April, so I would need to kill the cover crop at least in February.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:52PM
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I have not experienced any regrowth in cover crops after mowing them, or tilling them in, although others have reported problems. The Rodale Institute developed a crimper to knock down cover crops and leave them in place as mulch and I have seen nothing to indicate those plants grew back after being flattened.
When using Rye, Wheat, Oat, or sometimes hay as mulch I have observed new growth from the seeds that do not always get reaped and this may be what some of those that have had problems have seen, not regrowth from the old plants but new growth from seeds.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:17AM
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The most productive cover for zone 9 has always been and will always be fava. You will have to scythe them down in spring.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Since this is my first time with cover crops during the fall/winter I will try small patches of Rye and Fava.

Do both of these have to be flowering in order to kill them by mowing? I will plant them in August, so I have no idea when they will flower in Zone 9.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:11PM
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