Jeff R Hodgins wrote:No sorry no link, I am speaking from experience, I planted Vicia cracca in a patch of dense grass and the grass was suppressed. I also planted it it a patch of strawberries that was very weedy and was not producing fruit. After the vetch had shaded out the weeds I cut the vetch and shortly after the strawberries started to grow fruit again. With no mulch added and no manure just vetch. The patch is weedy again now but not as bad as it was. Fall is coming and the vetch is creeping up again. I expect an even better stand of strawberries next year.
Vicia cracca (Tufted vetch) showed up in my area 10 years ago or so. I know of a half dozen local colonies and have been keeping an eye on them. Smooth brome is a common forage grass planted here but it is also aggressively invading all types of habitats. I consider smooth brome my most serious problem with respect to establishing tree and shrubs. Most of the Vicia locally is growing in areas with smooth brome present and seems to suppress the brome to a considerable degree. Likely the vining growth habit and nitrogen fixing capability allow it to gain the upper hand in competition for light. I have been collecting seed of Vicia cracca for a couple of years and I intend to try and establish it as an understory in some of my tree plantings. I realize Tufted vetch is considered to be invasive in some areas but for me it would be preferable to smooth brome with fewer detrimental and likely even beneficial effects on tree growth. I also suspect that if growth gets a little too rampant, grazing would quickly bring it back in line.