Ugh! I'm glad to know it's useful for something, but I wouldn't encourage growing a non-native, potentially invasive species. It's interesting that it can be so hard to establish articficially! I'm in upstate New York, and I've just begun to battle the vetch on a slight slope behind our rock wall. It's sort of pretty when it blooms and runs down the wall, but it really is out of control! I didn't know that deer love it and am glad to have learned that here. There are a lot of deer in the area, but so far, they've stayed away from my flower gardens. I don't want to do anything to encourage them to come closer!
It's always fascinating to learn about the common things that so often go unnoticed. Great article!
I planted a handful of this one year in my flower bed. Boy did it ever take off. In two years I was up to my eyeballs with that junk spreading all over the place. even the yard. It does NOT pull up. Even the tiniest bit of root left in the ground will grow back. I had to use roundup several times, plus digging before I got rid of it.
Johnson grass was the same way for me, spreading by runners under the soil.
also avoid that chameleon plant- aka at my place as demon weed lol plus it has a stinky odor to it...
I have been doing battle with Crown vetch for years, I understand what you are going through! The deer do not help me get rid of it, they do love my nearby Hosta though! I pull most of it up in the spring but the ones that make it by me are pretty when they later bloom. It's a kind of love/hate thing for me. I always feel bad while pulling it up with flowers on it and then my hill looks so bare, but I do know it will just take over if I leave it. I never knew they sell the stuff, that's as silly as me buying Joe Pye weed!! Good article, I learn something new in all your newsletters, Thanks from East Haddam Ct.!
We have a tiny, impossible to mow hill. I've been thinking of a lot of options (most of them invasive). Tried to get ice plant (delosperma) started but I think it's too wet here. I have a lot of phlox subulata elsewhere, but I don't like the way it looks in the sun. New England sun isn't sunny enough for delosperma but too sunny for phlox in the summer! Anyway, I guess I'll cross crown vetch off the list. (Boo.)
About 6 yrs ago I planted vetch in my vegetable garden as a winter cover crop, the plan being to till it under in spring to add nutrients to the soil. At the same time, I scattered some seeds on a gentle slope at the back of the yard. As you might imagine the rain washed the seeds down from the slope and distributed them far and wide. Six yrs later I am still pulling vetch all over the garden, flower beds, and anywhere else the lawn mower misses.
Although I would not recommend planting the stuff, I must admit that it is rather striking especially when grown in mass and viewed from a little distance away. I've even found myself taking photos of it at times for this very reason - and I have plenty to photograph. The one other redeeming quality of this plant is the ease with which it comes up when pulled, usually in one piece and with only a gentle tug. If I have to pull weeds, I'll take vetch any day.
Crown vetch is on the USDA's list of noxious weeds. I would avoid it like the plague. My son Brian, the park ranger/naturalist, told me once there were better choices for hillside plants. I'll ask him and get back to you.
However, I'm surprised to see someone feeling the same way about Joe Pye Weed. It's a native prarie plant that Brian planted in my sunny backyard garden years ago. It has stayed put and hardly spread at all. I does grow to about 12ft--higher than usual--but is absolutely gorgeous and I love it. It looks great with other plants there--beebalm, black-eyed susans, purple cone flowers, perennial salvia, anise hyssop and daylilies to name a few. I did get rid of the boneset, though. It was very invasive. I brought a couple of starts of the JPW to the lake and only one survived. I'm going to try again this weekend with some babies I found in the original bed.