Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners


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 zero 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 herbicide; hairy vetch is quite sensitive to herbicide applications.

Vetch may flower and produce seed that will germinate. Cultivation or spot treatment with herbicidecan 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.


Hairy vetch, a true Vetch in the Vicia genus, is often sown in the fall and plowed under the following spring. The plant is an annual and will die out. It is considered extremely winter hardy.

Sow seeds at the rate of 1/2 to 3/4 pounds per 1000 square feet.

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