Cover Crops: Other Brassicas
- Description: Family
- Growth Habits
- Control Options
- Sensitivity to Herbicides
- Weed Control
- Benefits and Concerns
- Getting Started
- Related Links
- Brassicae, Non-legume broadleaf, includes canola – spring and winter, rapeseed , mustard – black and white
- some seeds that may not germinate the first year may pose a problem in later years
- prefers moist, cool growing conditions
- rapid top growth and dense cover
- Some may bolt by October, set seed and pose a future weed problem
- most have taproots, 0.3 to 1 m long
- root growth is aggressive with many side roots
- tolerant of light frost
- spring canola and mustards are resistant to mild freezing – but less so than oilseed radish; -2°C kills mustard
- winter canola and rapeseed will over winter as rosettes
- tolerates dry conditions, once established
- loam to clay soils preferred
- pH range 5.3 to 6.8
- several herbicides are registered for brassicas
- Many of the Group 2 herbicides, and the triazine herbicides, can have soil residuals that may injure oilseed radish seedlings.
- Consult the product labels or Publication 75 - Guide to Weed Control for information on how these herbicides may affect canola, cabbage or other members of the mustard (cruciferae) family of plants.
- One method of controlling volunteer cereals and other annual weeds is to disc or cultivate immediately after harvest and then till the soil again just before seeding the cover crop (stale seedbed).
- do not delay the date of seeding, a vigorous and competitive cover crop is your best weed control.
- There is a certain percentage of hard seed that may not germinate in the year of planting and may pose a weed problem in later years.
- Good nitrogen scavenger –a good fit with fall manure applications or when excess soil nitrogen is expected
- Some varieties have nematode suppressing abilities due to high glucosinolate levels
- Clubroot disease and cabbage root maggot can affect many of these types of cover crop. Avoid using these cover crops in a rotation that includes brassicas in the main crop.
- biomass production varies greatly with species and growing conditions
- Residues have low lignin content – rapid decomposition
- Returns moderate amounts of organic matter to the soil
- rapid growth for weed suppression and soil cover in early fall and spring
- seed in early spring or fall – depending on species
- most seeds are quite small
- drill at 10-12 lbs per acre or broadcast at 12-15 lbs/acre
- do not delay seeding date – competitive crop cover is best weed control strategy
Cost and Availability
- moderate cost depending upon the variety
For more information:
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