Screening Cover Crops for Use in Conservation Tillage Systems for Vegetables Following Spring Plowing

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078-0511

Several prospective cover crops were sown into 1-m2 monoculture plots on 9 Mar. 1987 and 10 Mar. 1988 at Bixby, Okla., and on 14 Mar. 1988 at Lane, Okla., after sites were plowed and fitted. Densities and dry weights of cover crops and weeds were determined in late April or early May of both years. Plots also were evaluated for degree of kill by glyphosate in 1988. Fourteen cover crops were screened at Bixby in 1987. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and three fescues (Festuca rubra L., Festuca rubra L. var. commutata Gaud.-Beaup., and Festuca elatior L.) were eliminated from further consideration due to inadequate cover density and inability to suppress weeds. Screenings of the 10 remaining covers were conducted at both locations in 1988. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) and three small grains [rye (Secale cereale L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)] were the most promising cover crops with respect to cover density, competitiveness against weeds, and degree of kill by glyphosate. Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) were the most promising legumes, but they generally were less satisfactory than the grassy covers in all tested aspects. A single application of glyphosate was ineffective in killing hairy vetch at both locations. Chemical name used: N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine (glyphosate).

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