Sarah Strauss, Davie Kadyampakeni, Ramdas Kanissery, Tara Wade, Lauren Diepenbrock and Juanita Popenoe
Cover crops are specific crops not intended for sale but for soil improvement and sustainability. They are increasingly common in the agricultural fields of the Midwest and other grain-producing regions because of the wide range of benefits not just for the soil, but also the cash crop. In those systems, cover crops improve water and nutrient retention, promote microbial activity, reduce weed growth and insect pests, and improve plant growth. Similar impacts have been found in tree crops like apples and peaches, where cover crops are planted in row middles.
As citrus greening (huanglongbing or HLB) can significantly impact root growth and nutrient and water uptake, the benefits from cover crops may be an additional strategy to improve Florida citrus production and reduce fertilizer and water inputs.