Cover Crops and Green Manures
for Hawai'i

Generally used for orchard crops such as coffee and macadamia, cover crops are planted to protect the soil surface between tree rows. They can improve trafficability between rows, benefit soil structure and microfauna, suppress weeds, promote habitat for beneficial insects, and reduce nutrient leaching.

Green manures are frequently used in vegetable crop production. They are incorporated or plowed into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients for the cash crops. Green manures can be managed to disrupt plant disease cycles or to suppress nematodes. Generally they grow very quickly, are very herbaceous, decompose rapidly, and release nutrients quickly.

Cover Crops

CTAHR researchers investigate how cover crops attract beneficial insects.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) ~ Cover Crops and Green Manures for Hawaii

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum). Photo: Jackie Smith

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) ~ Cover Crops and Green Manures for Hawaii

Research on perennial peanut as a cover crop for Hawaii orchards.

Two acres at Waimanalo Experiment Station have just received organic certification.

Strip-till cover cropping followed by clipping provides organic mulch. Photo: K-H Wang.

Videos on Sustainable Agriculture at YouTube: HIsustainag

Sunnhemp or marigold intercropped with cucumber in a strip-till system. Photo: K-H Wang.

CTAHR researches soil ecology and health: nematode trapping fungi



Green Manures



Additional information about green manures and cover crops

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These webpages were originally generated under a grant program from Western SARE entitled "Covering New Ground: Tropical Cover Crops for Improving Soil Quality" EW98-012 (1998-2002).