substitutes for crown vetch

princesstasha(pennsylvania)September 23, 2005

Hello All,

In my community we have a problem area - it is a corner of our site that the developer wiped out (used to be forest) and then seeded with some sort of annual grass mixed with rocks and terrible top soil.

Anyway, we have had to pay a good bit to have the area mowed / bush hogged - it looks terrible too.

part of it is on a slope that leads up to neighbors homes so insects are an issue in terms of planting on the top of the slope.

One neighbor is advocating planting crown vetch in this rather large area as it will quickly populate and cover things. I feel this is a bad idea due to it being invasive and not native, but i am unsure of what our alternatives are.

Can anyone assist me with some good information / links / etc that might help with selecting a good ground cover (possible a native meadow of some sort) .. and perhaps something towards the top of the slope that would be "neater" and less attrative to 'wildlife' for those who live right on the edge of the slope?

I really would like to present a good argument against crown vetch, however the area needs to look 'nice' in order for the residents to accept it.

thank you for any suggestions!


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joepyeweed(5b IL)

not only is crown vetch invasive/aggressive its not really that good of an option for sloped ground. it does grow fast and fill in quickly, which is why it was commonly recommended in the past for slopes. HOwever that time has passed, experience has shown the root system of the crown vetch is not adequate enough to hold the underlying soil. And the vetch itself fills in so much with very few roots that the underlying soil can erode away hidden by the vigorous yet shallow rooted crown vetch. Highway departments no longer promote crown vetch as a good planting for slopes.

I can reccommend a couple of options of some good slope mixtures, but I have them saved on my other computer. send me an email at and I will try to get back to you when I am on the other machine.

typically any native mixture is going to have to include some quicker growing cover like a rye or fescue also.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:34PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

first, anything but ANYTHING except crown vetch. that stuff sux bigtime.

and as much as i like to think that plants can do anything and everything, some times machines and men need to clean up the mess that machines and men did.

what im saying is that there may be some serious soil issues now and maybe some terracing and/or other solutions in addition to the planting that needs to be done. if i read this correctly, u are living under this 'slope' that 'used' to have trees on. that = easy movement.

there are some solutions that ive used and seen.

cheapest and maybe best solution is to put down a landscaping errosion matt and seed w/ a very hardy fast growing native mix. im not going to offer a mix cuz im here and u are there, ask the local conservation people.

my down the road neighbor put in chain link fence and has seeded it and planted it over the years and the area has remained stable for 20 years +. tho not sure i like this idea, it gets to the solution of non-movement so one can plant into.

jute cloth is a neat idea that incorporates errosion matting with the seeds. i know they do it for shoreland resortation, maybe some locals in ur area use it with the local natives.

one last comment is about seeding hills. ive seeded many a hill and ALL of them end up having much more seed @ the bottom and much less @ the top and mostly devoid in the middle. and this is after concentrating on the middle and top. this is always the case unless there is something holding the seed inplace long enough to germinate. i find that multi seedings can help but be aware of this fact. typically i kill a serious slope only once with round up and seed the $#!+ out of it and hope for the best. i dont till or touch the after roundup dead thatch and leave everthing there to act as a mulch/soil matt.


Here is a link that might be useful: jute cloth

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:49AM
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