Hairy Vetch

By The Old House Web
Hairy vetch is used as a winter cover crop to improve the soil's structure and nitrogen content when tilled in or turned over in the spring.

Hairy vetch is often sown as seed in late July through August. Plants will germinate and develop shoots and root through the fall. Vetch will go dormant during the winter months; a severe winter with below 0 degrees F. may kill the plants, limiting the need for burn down in the spring.

Plants surviving the winter can be rotortilled or plowed in the spring. Dense populations can be knocked down with an application of 2,4-D; hairy vetch is quite sensitive to herbicide applications.

Vetch may flower and produce seed that will germinate. Cultivation or spot treatment with 2,4-D can control the problem. Make sure to read and follow all labeled directions when using a pesticide.

Hairy vetch is NOT the same as crown vetch, though both are legumes and will improve the soil fertility.


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