Western Research and Demonstration Farm
Deciding when and how to plant prairie to simultaneously establish native prairie seedlings and prevent weed (non-prairie species) invasion can be challenging. Planting cover crops is an increasingly common management practice for prairie plantings. The idea is based on the assumption that the cover plant will act as a nurse plant to prairie seedlings and will have a positive effect on seedling recruitment by increasing weed suppression. This is predicted to lead to reduced weed biomass and increased prairie establishment in restoration plantings. However, the evidence supporting these benefits is mostly anecdotal and has been challenged by some.
Iowa State University
Martin, Leanne M. and Wilsey, Brian J., "Native Cover Crops and Timing of Planting: Three Years of Establishment" (2011). Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. 292.