When is it Too Late to Seed Cover Crops?

Select Cold-Tolerant Species

Another factor with seeding cover crops late is the species you want to use. You may want to avoid any species that is not suitable for surviving cold weather, Ebersole says, such as radishes and some specific clover and oat varieties, although black oats have been known to overwinter south of I-70 and as far north as Pennsylvania. The USDA says that black oats will winterkill at temperatures less than 19 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the growth stage.

Plan to Drill

Dillard and Ebersole both agree that if you’re seeding your cover crops later, you should drill them over broadcasting.

Consider Spring Management

If a cover crop was established late, Dillard says it’s likely not going to affect your termination plans — in fact, it might make them easier. With that said, if your cover crops typically help with weed suppression and they didn’t get as much growth, then you may need to use more herbicides to deal with increased weed pressure.

Always Be Prepared

The best way to set yourself up for success when seeding a cover crop late is to be prepared to go as soon as the opportunity presents itself. You’ll want to have your seed purchased and equipment ready before you need them.

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