Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Plant Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Rebecca Grube Sideman


Cover crops suppress weeds by competing for resources. The purpose of the first study was to quantify the effects of cover crops on weeds and the soil environment. Forage radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. longipinnatus 'Tillage Radish') was most effective at reducing weeds. The purpose of the second study was to quantify the effects of these cover crops planted the previous summer on growth of a test crop and residual weed populations. Test crop yield and chlorophyll levels were highest and weed populations were lowest in plots that had previously been planted with forage radish. In the third cover cropping study, cover crops were seeded at three dates between rows of established sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa) to determine optimum timing of intercrop planting. Heavy pressure from weeds growing within intercrops resulted in reduced yields and large additions to the soil weed seed bank when intercrops were seeded prior to corn reproductive maturity.