Cover crops are used primarily as a method to keep the soil covered during periods of time when a cash crop is not being grown. A cover crop can be a single species or multiple species planted at the same time. Some commonly used cover crops are cereal rye, buckwheat, cowpeas, mung beans, clovers and oats. But there are hundreds of potential plant species that can be used as cover crops. The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service provides information about how cover crops can improve soil health. There are plenty of resources below to explore more about cover crops.
Line drawings of common cover crop root structures
Please note these images cannot be used for commercial purposes. Thery available for non-commercial use in your applications for presentations, seminars and workshops when cover crops are discussed. Thanks to the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative for providing the images.