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Conservation Cover

conservation cover









Establishing and maintaining permanent vegetative cover.

How it works

Plantings are used on lands needing permanent vegetative cover to prevent soil erosion, reduce the risk of chemical runoff, and provide other benefits. Conservation cover may include grasses, forbs, legumes, trees and shrubs. In orchards, vineyards, berries and nurseries, this practice can provide full cover in alleyways. Conservation cover may also be used to provide wildlife habitat, conserve and stabilize archeological sites, or sequester carbon.

How it helps

  • Reduces soil erosion and sedimentation
  • Improves water quality
  • Improves air quality
  • Enhances wildlife habitat
  • Improves soil quality
  • Help to manage plant pests

Planning ahead

  • Are selected plans adapted to the area's soil, ecology and climate?
  • Will selected plants provide adequate cover to reduce wind and water erosion?

Technical notes

  • Try to use native species that are appropriate for the identified resource concerns and objectives.
  • Site preparation should adequately eliminate weeds.
  • Refer to a conservation planner for recommended species, seeding rates and timing, and establishment procedures.


  • Maintenance activities, such as mowing, may be needed to reduce weed competition.
  • If wildlife habitat is an objective, maintenance practices and activities should not disturb cover during the reproductive period for the desired species.
  • Spraying or other control of noxious weeds should be confined to 'spot' spraying to protect plants that benefit native pollinators and other wildlife.