Cover crops help suppress weed growth by providing year-round cover, and:
- Help prevent soil erosion
- Improve soil structure and, often, organic matter content
- Enhances soil nutrients
Is tillage a viable option to control weeds? It can be. Tillage can reduce dependence on herbicides. It’s a viable option for some areas, but not for all. In areas susceptible to wind or water erosion, tillage would be a poor option.
Tillage can be an effective means of weed control through burial of small weeds, disrupting roots leading to plant desiccation, and cutting or severely damaging broadleaf weeds below the apical region, leading to plant mortality.
As soil disturbance decreases, there is generally an increase in the size and diversity of the soil seedbank. Perennial weeds, shallow-emerging annual grasses and small-seeded broadleaves are prominent in reduced-tillage systems. Large-seeded broadleaves are more prominent as tillage intensity increases.
Like other production practices, tillage practices must be regularly changed to prevent buildup of any particular species or group of weeds in the soil seedbank.