Sudan Grass as a cover crop

chicago90(z11PHX)August 5, 2005

Has anyone ever planted sudan grass as a cover crop as a means of adding nitrogen to the soil while having something green in the process?

Lucy Bradley recommended it as one choice for cover crops. Any other suggestions? Clover?

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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Did she tell you anything else about it? I've never heard of it before.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:45PM
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roo2000(AZ 13 PhxMetro)

Alfalfa.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:36AM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Doh!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 2:18PM
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paalexan(NM)

Sudan grass is Sorghum bicolor. I haven't heard of any grass having any ability to add nitrogen to a soil, but maybe I've missed something. This species is also listed as a noxious weed in six states, including Nevada. This would make me very reluctant to plant it, myself...

The obvious thing to try, to me, would be one of the winter-annual native legumes. Though I don't know which might be good candidates around Phoenix, in the Las Cruces area I've got a friend who's probably going to try Astragalus hallii as a cover crop this winter. I've linked a web page with some pictures of it; this species doesn't need much water to do well and produces nice flowers come spring, so it at least sure seems like a good idea. We'll see.

Patrick Alexander

Here is a link that might be useful: polyploid.net: Astragalus hallii var. fallax

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 8:01PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Mmmm - that's pretty.

There's a few plants that Seeds of Change puts out as cover crops/ nitrogen fixers - I like them because they are out of Albuquerque and do only organics, with an emphasis on heirloom and traditional varieties. When they say low water and full sun, I can believe them.

Are you thinking about putting this over your lawn?

Here is a link that might be useful: Cover crops

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 9:01PM
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roo2000(AZ 13 PhxMetro)

Anyone else see that weird little link in Larry's original post? On the word grass... Was that put there by ivillage??

Sorry to hijack, Larry.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:28PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Yes, I did see that, Roo, and they're popping up in lots of messages. A new way, evidently, to get some ads front and center.

P.S., don't know anything about Sudan grass, but Harry Vetch is supposed to work well. ;O) .... Just kidding; I mean of course, 'hairy vetch' - a strange name, I always thought for a rather pretty plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: vicia villosa

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 12:23AM
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chicago90(z11PHX)

I'm not planning on putting in the cover crop over the grass, just as filler in those blank spaces to see the success rate.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 9:26PM
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n5odj

I know this is an old post, but I think I have some good insight into using this type of grass. I planted sorghum-sudan this year in one of my gardens. It grows very fast & will add a HUGE amount of organic matter.... easily grows over 6 feet tall & quite thick. My problem was that it soon got out of control & too tall for me to mow. It subsequently went to seed. Hoping those seeds aren't a problem this year. Anyway, it is killed by cold/frost, so won't last through the winter. I may use it again, but will make a point to mow it while still mowable.
Oh-yeah, since the OP is out west, this grass is also drought tolerant.
Robert in the hills of Tennessee

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 8:29PM
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jolmos(9/Sunset 13/AZ)

Clover did really well for me...it is quite tolerant of the heat when it is established. It is planted around my plants(roses and other prized beauties), and will let me know if the others need some water...It's been the best way to tell if it things need water...oh and the adding nitrogen to the soil has been great too...my roses are even bigger as are my cannas, onions...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:19PM
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