Posted by: ssorrrell | July 28, 2007

Green Manures

Several packages of green manure came in the other day and I’m trying to decide what to put down. There’s about 2 months left until first frost; August and September. The sunflower bed could have green manure sown in while the sunflowers, corn, and other maturing crops ripen and provide shade for the seedlings.

The US SAREP Online Cover Crop Database seems very knowledgeable and is a good place to start about learning about a specific cover crop.

Crismson Clover
* Cool-season annual legume
* 12-20″ tall
* Biomass 4,500-5,000 lb/a
* N content 2.4%
* Flowers April-May
* Matures May-June
* Taproot
* Hosts pea aphid and blue alfalfa aphid, prey to lady beetles
* Blossoms harbor flower thrips and pirate bugs
* Self-regenerating in North Coast vineyards
* Does not tolerate mowing as well as subclovers or medics
* Green Manure for pecan, peach, and other orchard trees
* Attractive to several beneficial insects

Oats
* Cool season annual grass
* 24-60″ tall
* Biomass 8,000-12,000 lb/a
* N content 1.2%
* Flowers April-May
* Matures May-June
* Fibrous root system
* Many cvs; ‘Ogle’ and ‘Swan’ have high biomass
* Not as tolerant of cold or waterlogging as cereal rye
* Harbors bird cherry-oat aphid
* Oat can be used as a nurse crop
* Winter kills, -8 C kills seedlings
* Structural plant, will hold up hairy vetch

Common Vetch
* Winter-annual legume
* Native to the Near East
* Flowers from April to July
* Seed matures from May to July
* Cvs include ‘Languedoc’, ‘Vedoc’, ‘Willamette’, and the hybrids ‘Cahaba White’ and ‘Vantage’
* The close relative blackpod or narrowleaf vetch is termed Vicia anugustifolia or Vicia sativa ssp. nigra. This volunteers in the foothills and valleys of Central and Northern California
* Height is 22″ in monoculture, but 72″ may be attained if supported by tall cereal grain
* N content is about 4%
* Maximum biomass is about 8,000-9,000 lb/acre
* Tolerates many soil types, but needs good drainage
* Performs well as a self-reseeding cover crop in almond, prune, and well-lit walnut orchards and vineyards and in plow-down mixes for vegetable or field operations
* Seedlings apparently establish through dense walnut leaf litter better than do those of woollypod vetch, purple vetch, burr medic, subterranean clover, or crimson clover
* Lygus spp., adult aphidophagous hover flies, various ants (e.g., Formica aerata, Solenopsis xyloni), and various parasitic wasps are found at the extrafloral (stipular) nectaries
* Cowpea aphid often abundant on the terminals during spring
* Honeybees seldom visit the large blooms
* Some cvs (e.g., ‘Cahaba White’) are resistant to rootknot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.).
* Winter kills in the northern part of the cotton belt; it does well in western Oregon and Washington
* Withstand temperatures as low as 10 F above zero with little or no injury
* Will grow tall if supported

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