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Cornell University

Cover Crop Guide for NY Growers

Dr. Thomas Björkman, Horticulture Section, Cornell AgriTech


Arugula is a fall-seeded, overwintering Brassica. It is useful for suppressing weeds and minimizing surface compaction. Arugula provides less ground cover but more biofumigation potenial than turnips or rape. The glucosinolates in Brassicas are the compounds responsible for disease suppression.

Land Preparation

Smooth seedbed free of weeds and well-drained. Must contain sufficient moisture.

Seeding Rate

Drill 2-4 lb/ac, 1/4-1/2 inch deep. Broadcast. Seed can be no-tilled into suppressed sod or seeded into a conventionally prepared seedbed. When using conventional tillage, control the first flush of weeds before seeding to ensure a weed-free seedbed. Roll after seeding to improve seed-to-soil contact but do not break up aggregates.

Seed Cost

2007 price: $7.00/lb

Seeding Dates


Time Until Control

Over winters in milder parts of NY

Seed Suppliers

Rupp Seeds.

Management Tricks

Avoid wet ground, Roll to ensure good seed to soil contact.

Unavoidable Problems

Attracts flea beetles. This is usually not a problem in the Fall.

Avoidable Problems

Avoid rotations with Brassica vegetable crops.

Classic Uses

Overwintering biofumigant.


Avoid wet spots.


Incorporate in the spring. For biofumigation, mow when the soil is warm but before seed set. Incorporate immediately and roll soil to seal the surface. Wait a minimum of 10 days to fit and plant.


Do not use in rotation with other Brassicas. Brassicas can be magnets for flea beetles. Arugula is reported to reduce the populations of Northern root knot nematodes on tomatoes.

All uses for Arugula
Management Goal Planting Time
Reduce Root Rot Late Summer
Suppress Nematodes Late Summer
Winter Erosion Protection Late Summer