Suppression of weeds and other pests in fresh market vegetables using wild radish cover crop

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $173,125.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: South Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Jason Norsworthy
Clemson Univeristy

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons
  • Vegetables: beans, cucurbits, eggplant, peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes


  • Crop Production: cover crops, application rate management
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, chemical control, cultural control, integrated pest management, mulches - killed, physical control, smother crops, mulching - vegetative, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil quality/health


    A wild radish cover crop provided early-season weed suppression in field-grown sweet corn and had no detrimental affect on sweet corn. Sweet corn sometimes showed signs of nitrogen deficiency early in the growing season, while symptoms were generally absent in wild radish plots. Mycorrhizal colonization in corn was not negatively influenced by wild radish or rye compared with fallow plots. Marketable sweet corn ear number in wild radish plots was often superior to other cover crops, regardless of herbicide program. Laboratory bioassays revealed that banded cucumber beetle larvae and eggs are suppressed by a wild radish extract.

    Project objectives:

    1) Determine the effect of wild radish residues on vegetable crops and associated pests in bioassays.
    2) Determine if a wild radish extract reduces weed emergence and soilborne insect populations.
    3) Evaluate the effect of wild radish on growth and yield of sweet corn in field studies along with mycorrhizal colonization and nitrification and weed, pathogen, and insect populations.
    4) Evaluate the economic feasibility of the use of wild radish as a cover crop in vegetable production using data from on-farm trials.
    5) Disseminate results to vegetable producers and other clientele.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.