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Study Tests Cover Crops as Biodegradable Mulch

Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, Auburn University researchers tested cover crop residue as a biodegradable mulch for weed control in bell pepper and watermelon production. Using the biodegradable mulch from cover crops offered an alternative to chemical weed control and to use of plasticulture. This study involved two years of field testing white clover as a living mulch, and cereal rye and a mixture of cereal rye and crimson clover used as biodegradable mulches once terminated. Researchers found that weed densities for all cover crops tested were significantly lower than the non-treated control. Additionally, rolling the cover crop mixes down green did not adversely affect vegetable crop yield or quality.