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Jointvetch as winter cover...

657 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  canebrake
Firstly, thank you for you all for the many constructive contributions on this forum. It's good to have local knowledge.

I'd like to start my first planting of joint vetch this year.
I'm considering planting the periphery of my cool season plots with it to function initially as summer/early season food and then transition to winter cover... but I have no idea how well it maintains vertical presence and cover capacity. I couldn't find any pictures of what happens to the plants after frost.

Providing it reaches sufficient size/height in the growing season, how well does it maintain height/cover in the winter?

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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My vetch died instantly, as in the next day after the 1st good frost. It almost has a woody structure to it when it dies and it doesn’t wilt and fall over. It just kinda lost all its leaves and turned woody. They are still standing in my plot now as I just rolled my fall seeds this year without discing, spraying or bush hogging.
And mine were and still are about knee high.
Deer vetch doesn't provide significant vertical cover after frost---at least not at the planting and grazing rates we have on our place. To transition to fall plots in late September, we broadcast cereal grains and fertilizer into the standing vetch, and then clip the vetch high at roughly 8-10 inches. This provides enough thatch for the winter plots to germinate.

Because we are spreading fertilizer at the same time, the clipped vetch gets a boost in fresh growth and the winter plots get established well due to the nurse crop of vetch. Then, with the first frost the vetch dies releasing the nitrogen that it has stored which gives the cereal grains some additional help.
Thank you both for that information. I've got a relatively poor draining inside corner in a hardwood bottom area. It's ideally situated with the exception of an absence of cover to break up the food plot a little bit.. I think that limits day time usage in the winter.

Have any of y'all found anything that can work on an annual basis for screening cover that grows in a low bottomland area? Unfortunately, I can't leave a few strips abandoned to grow up- It would need to be able to be cleaned up if needed.
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