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Cornell University

Cover Crop Guide for NY Growers

Dr. Thomas Björkman, Horticulture Section, Cornell AgriTech


Cover crops can meet important management goals:

  • Suppressing weeds
  • Protecting soil from rain or runoff
  • Improving soil aggregate stability
  • Reducing surface crusting
  • Adding active organic matter to soil
  • Breaking hardpan
  • Fixing nitrogen
  • Scavenging soil nitrogen
  • Suppressing soil diseases and pests

Vegetable production involves many practices that compromise soil health, and therefore limit productivity. New York soils are less forgiving of such practices than many other regions. Therefore, leading vegetable growers want to overcome this barrier to success with practices that maintain soil health.

This site provides recommendations for results of the Cornell Soil Health Test. The report from that test often prescribes using cover crops, and this site will help identify the cover crop to use and how to use it effectively. Our goal is to provide a key component of an integrated management recommendation for growers.

This website provides information on cover crops that is tailored to the needs and constraints of vegetable growers in New York. The recommendations are likely to be inaccurate for other locations.

Questions and comments on the website? Use the form below or email Thomas Björkman at