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Planting in the Green

Updated: May 9, 2018

Did you know you can plant corn, soy, and wheat before the cover crop is terminated? "Planting green" is a method of planting a cash crop into an actively growing cover crop with a no-till planter or drill.

When to Plant Green?

Plant Green is particularly valuable where growing seasons are short and cover crops are planted in late fall following harvest of a grain corn or soybean.

Tips and Tricks for Planting Green

This information is provide by the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance (

  • Cover crops over 20" in heights will risk shading rows and cause spindly stalks and possible yield loss

  • If roll crimping in a separate pass, careful planning needs to be considered when doing end rows and point rows. You cannot plant across mature cereal rye stems. Always roll int he direction of intended planting.

Roller Crimper on a John Deere Tractor. Photo credit: Edwin Remsberg and USDA-SARE

Terminating without Herbicides

When terminating a cover crop without herbicides using a roller crimper, planting date depends on cover crop maturity.

  • For Soybeans: Plant in cereal rye at or after Milk Stage, past pollination.

  • For Corn: Plant in hairy vetch or crimson clover after full flower

Terminating with Herbicides

Terminating the cover crop using herbicides provides a lot more flexibly.

  • Ideally spray herbicide 2 days ahead of planting in order to give it time to trans-locate to cover crop roots

  • Be careful to not spray more than you can plant before the next rain; without a living cover crop remove soil moisture, fields will stay wetter, longer


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