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Cover crop question

 
                              
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I had a magnolia tree in my yard that I chopped down last summer.  The ground below was pretty void of plants so in the fall I planted vetch and clover (annual) as a cover crop.  I don't want to till it under.  Can I just chop it down and cover it with some mulch.  I wouldn't mind skipping the chopping it down part either and just smothering it in mulch.  Would that get the nitrogen into the soil as effectively as turning it under?
 
maikeru sumi-e
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I think it's fine since you're planning to mulch, as earthworms and other soil life will move in quick and begin to deposit and mix the residues with the soil. The nitrogen may not be incorporated as quick and become available right away to the same degree as if you tilled it under, but this way is better for building soil tilth and moisture retention.
 
                                
Posts: 34
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Yes, it will work just the same...better actually. Non tillage will

cause no disturbance to the worm population so they will

increase in numbers and make great soil. Mulching should retain

as much of the fixed nitrogen as being tilled under the soil since even with

tillage there is exposed green matter.
 
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