Group Title: Press bulletin
Title: Cover crops
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 Material Information
Title: Cover crops
Series Title: Press bulletin
Physical Description: 4 p. : ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hume, H. Harold ( Hardrada Harold ), 1875-1965
University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1902
Subject: Cover crops -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by H. Harold Hume.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "July 1st, 1902."
General Note: At head of title: Department of Horticulture and Botany.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090453
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 81086633

Full Text

Press Bulletin No. 27.


Experiment Station.


Horticulture and Botany.

Cover Crops.
The benefits derived from cover crops in Florida are
briefly as follows:
They add nitrogen and humus to the soil, dry out
the soil during the summer months and prevent the
leaching and wasting of fertilizer materials in the soil.
Any soil which is deficient in humus cannot be consid-
ered fertile, not that humus as such can be used by
plants but its presence may always be taken as an index
of fertility.
How can the fertility of the soil be maintained and
increased? By the addition of fertilizers and by grow-

July Ist, 1902.

ing leguminous cover crops. It is a well recognized fact
that a little cultivation will take the place of a consid-
erable amount of fertilizer and that cover crops so ma-
terially improve the mechanical condition and increase
the fertility of the land as to greatly decrease the sums
which must from time to time be expended for nitrogen
from commercial sources.
No grove or orchard in Florida should be given clean
culture during the whole year and during the summer
months the ground should be covered either by a mulch
or by cover crop. Obviously the latter is the less expen-
sive and except in special cases the better plan to follow.
For summer cover crops in our state three plants are
available and stand out as superior to all other for our
conditions, viz: beggar weed, velvet beans and cow peas.
Beggar weed may be grown throughout the whole
length and breadth of the state, from Biscayne Bay to
Pensacola. It succeeds on a wide range of soils.
If allowed to grow throughout the whole season it
becomes very tall and woody, after reaching a height of
eight feet or more. It should not be allowed to do this but
should be cut two or three times during the season, for
like alfalfa, a number of cuttings may be made from it,
although it is an annual. It reseeds readily, but the
ground must be cultivated in spring to give it a start.
Beggar weed is free from root-knot and hence is
particularly desirable for planting in peach orchards.
From 5 to 6 pounds sowed broadcast is sufficient seed
for an acre when planted for cover a crop.
The velvet bean, the merits of which are fully set
forth in Bul. 60 of the station and in bulletins pub-
lished by the Alabama station is an excellent soil reno-

vator. It has been estimated that a good crop will add
150 lbs. or more of nitrogen to an acre of ground and
the quantity of humus supplied is enormous. When
planted between the trees, two or three rows of beans
are sufficient between every two rows of trees. The
vines must be carefully watched to prevent their climb-
ing into the trees.
As to whether the velvet bean is affected by root-
knot is still somewhat in question but will probably be
decided before long as investigations are under way to
establish the fact.
About one and a half bushels of seed are required
per acre.
Cow peas have been said to be to the South, what red
clover is to the North but in the writer's opinion these
plants as a group are inferior to the two already men-
tioned cover crops in Florida. They are very muqh sub-
ject to the attacks of a wilt disease and of root-knot. The
former disease has not yet been reported from Florida.
Last year however it was found by Orton of the Agricul-
tural Department that one variety, the Iron, resisted the
attacks of both the wilt and root-knot. This discovery
is a note worthy one.
With the possible exception of the iron variety, it
would be better not to plant cow peas as a cover crop
among peach trees. There need be no hesitation about
planting them in the orange grove,for despite the statement
of Dr. Neal to the contrary, the writer does not believe
that citrus trees are subject to root-knot. Cow peas
are best adapted to soils containing a medium amount
of moisture. A good crop will add from 60 to 70 lbs of
nitrogen per acre. About three pecks of seed are re-

quired per acre when sown in drills.
Cover crops should be allowed to become dead and
decayed before being turned under. Do not turn them
under green. They should be allowed to cover the ground
from about July 1st., until killed by frost or until they
die naturally.

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