As a perennial crop, grape production implicates many practices that deplete soil health, and overtime decrease or limit vine productivity. A majority of the vineyards in the Lake Erie grape region have been in production for over 50 years, with an intense regiment of management practices leading to a range of soil health problems. To combat these problems some growers are turning to cover crops as a floor management practice. 



Extracts soil phosphorus.

Attracts pollinators.

Suppresses weeds.

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Crimson clover

Nitrogen fixer.

Suppresses weeds.

Protects soil from erosion.


Prairie grass

Protects soil from erosion.

Suppresses weeds.

Adds organic matter to soil.


rye grass

Increases percolation.

Reduces erosion.

Reduces compaction.


sunflower mix

Attracts beneficial insects (pollinators/beneficial predators).

Suppresses weeds.

Increases water-holding capacity of the soil.



Nitrogen fixer.

Tolerant of cold temperatures.



Tillable radish

Control erosion.

Suppress weeds.

Roots create deep channels for water to move through the soil and become more accessible.


Wildflower mix

Attracts beneficial insects.

Suppresses weeds.

Adds organic matter to the soil.

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Dutch clover

Nitrogen producers.

Prevent soil from erosion with dense, shallow roots.

Stand up well to heavy traffic.


wild mustard

Manage soil-borne pathogens. (Biofumigation)

Suppresses weeds.

Generally winterkills. (26 degrees Fahrenheit)

See more pictures of our cover crop trials here.

Check out our podcasts for more information on cover crops:

Cover Crops Part 1

Cover Crops Part 2

Farm Viability Cover Crop Trial

CLEREL Open House: Cover Crops