Although ecological rationales for cover cropping have been elucidated, the implementation of the practice lags. There has been slow and limited adoption of cover cropping in many parts of the world. This disconnect is important because to address societal imperatives the widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural approaches must occur, and cover cropping is a cornerstone practice. In this study, it is explored how cover crop ecosystem service frameworks reflect the distinct environmental realities of perennial agriculture. It suggests that lags in cover crop adoption reveal a mismatch between the scientific discourse and the relevance of the practice to growers.