Soil cultivation (3 to 5 times/yr) and herbicide management (oxadiazon, 3.92 kg ai/ha), agricultural standards for reducing weed competition, were compared to three alternative nursery field management systems regarding weed suppression: ‘Norcen’ bird's-foot trefoil companion crop, ‘Wheeler’ winter rye cover crop/mulch, and grass sod (80% ‘Eton’ perennial ryegrass and 20% ‘Ruby’ red fescue). Field management treatment had a significant effect on observed weed populations. Weed densities were also subject to yearly variations caused by climate and endogenous weed life cycles. Herbicide management (oxadiazon) consistently provided the best control of undesired vegetation (0.3 weeds/m2) followed by the grass sod (0.7 weeds/m2), Wheeler rye cover crop/mulch (1.7 weeds/m2), Norcen bird's-foot trefoil companion crop (8.6 weeds/m2), and cultivated (55.7 weeds/m2) treatments, respectively. Although the grass sod treatment provided excellent control of undesired vegetation, as an alternative to cultivation and herbicide use, it proved to be excessively competitive with the nursery crop. The bird's-foot trefoil treatment quickly became infested with broadleaf weeds the eradication of which proved difficult. The Wheeler winter rye cover crop/mulch field management system provided acceptable weed control combined with other beneficial effects on the plant/soil environment. Results support the effectiveness of Wheeler winter rye and perhaps other allelopathic cover crop/mulch systems in controlling undesired vegetation in horticultural field production systems.