Back to Target Weeds for Control
Why should we care?
How to Identify
- Once established it is difficult to remove. Crown Vetch is a problem when it invades native areas such as grasslands, prairies and dunes. It can be found in disturbed remnant prairies and woodland edges, gravel bars along streams, as well as agricultural land and roadsides. It covers and fully shades native plants and can even climb over small trees and shrubs. It prefers open and sunny areas.
About the Plant and Where it came from
- Perennial herbaceous plant, growing 2–6 feet long stems with a reclining and trailing growth pattern. In winter and early spring crown vetch can be easily recognized as brown unsightly patches. The leaves are pinnately (feather-like) compound, (leaflets on both sides of a common stalk) with 15–25 pairs of oblong leaflets. The flowers are clustered in flat-topped umbels ranging from pink, lavender to white on extended stalks which grow from the leaf axils; blooming from May through August. The roots spread vegetatively with horizontal stems growing below the soil surface, called rhizomes, forming roots and producing new plants. They can grow up to 10 feet long, contributing to extensive vegetative spread.
How to Control
- Coronilla varia
- It was introduced from Europe and southeast Asia during the 1950s as ground cover, bank and slope stabilizer along roads and waterways, and as reen fertilizer crop, and it is still sold commercially.
- The Crown Vetch has slender seeds that are contained in finger-like pods; they remain viable in the soil for 15 years.
- Cultural control: Prescribed burning in late spring for several successive years. Mowing in June and late August for several successive years.
- Chemical control: Spot spraying affected areas, (after re-greening from a burn or mowing), with clopyralid+surfactant+dye. Caution: This selective herbicide also affects native plants of the sunflower and pea families.