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FutureStarrDo Deer Eat Crown Vetcher
Crown Vetch is used in food plots as it makes excellent cover for quail and good grazing forage for deer. In fact deer love to graze on crown vetch which has crude protein and fiber content similar to other forage legumes. Crown Vetch will shed seeds through the summer for quail and other game birds.Crown Vetch is used in food plots as it makes excellent cover for quail and good grazing forage for deer. In fact deer love to graze on crown vetch which has crude protein and fiber content similar to other forage legumes. Crown Vetch will shed seeds through the summer for quail and other game birds.
A: Deer will likely eat crown vetch. I talked to Barbara Leach, horticultural associate in the Roanoke Valley Extension Office, to see if she had a list of what deer prefer to eat. She didn’t have a list, but she said that since crown vetch is in the group of plants called “legume,” she would guess that deer would be likely to feed on crown vetch. Legume is the plant group that also includes beans. She told me that deer love to graze on beans.I also talked to Marilyn Arbogast, horticulturist for Roanoke City and my wife, who said that she is aware of deer damage to crown vetch. That said, sow seed of crown vetch on your large bank this spring to take advantage of its ability to prevent soil erosion and erect a tall deer-proof electric fence around the bank. Do you plan to also seed tall fescue with the crown vetch seed when spraying seed onto the bank? Crown vetch takes time to become established and spread from seed, so tall fescue in the crown vetch seed mix is recommended to cover a slope during this duration.
Originally imported to use for groundcover, it was quickly discovered that this member of the pea family (formerly Leguminosae, now Papilionaceae) was excellent for erosion control on slopes, soil rehabilitation, and roadside planting. Given free rein in nature, the plant adapted to all soil and environmental conditions. However, with care, crown vetch can be utilized in the landscape to provide attractive, no-maintenance ground cover for areas that are impossible to mow or maintain. In any instance, be sure this species is not planted in an area where it can spread to cultivated parts of the property. Also be aware that the plant is attractive to deer, as this is a natural forage for them. Proper soil preparation and amendment is crucial to this legume; it will not establish on unlimed soils. Lime and fertilizer are worked into an uneven and rough seedbed; leave rocks, large clods, and even stumps to help stabilize the soil. Good contact with the soil is critical to seed germination. Mulch is recommended as young plants establish. Straw, cheesecloth, used tobacco canvas, woodchips or woodbark would all be adequate. Crown vetch can be incorporated into an area where vegetation is thin and sickly. Scratch the surface with a rake to provide soil contact for the seeds. For detailed instructions and ratios, read this excellent article from the University of Kentucky Department of Agronomy. (Source: davesgarden.com)