Walnut orchard planted with mustard

Cover Crop Selection Tool

Cover Crop Selection Tool

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This tool allows you to explore cover crops that may be suitable for planting in California.

This tool is currently under peer review. Many of the ratings come from research done in different states, so check in with your local Cooperative Extension office, NRCS office, and/or your local seed dealers before buying these seeds.


To filter results by type of environmental benefit and by tolerances, click on desired items in the benefits list and the tolerances list immediately below. To filter results based on other characteristics, click inside the blank or "All" box at the top of each column to see a pull-down menu of options to choose from, or a sliding scale that you can move side to side to select minimum and maximum values for a range. For USDA Hardiness Zone, please type a number from 1 to 13, based on  the hardiness zone of your location, which can be determined using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Drought tolerance ratings key:

  • 1 = poor tolerance; will not provide useful cover in California in the absence of steady and significant water inputs
  • 4 = excellent tolerance; can survive low water conditions and still provide cover

For more information about each cover crop species, download the full dataset by clicking on the Download button at the bottom of this page.