Common vetch is a trailing winter annual weed that forms large mats of vegetation. It is common to waste areas and roadsides. The leaves of common vetch are very narrow, alternately arranged and compound. Tendrils form on the ends of the leaves. Long stems arise from fibrous roots, and flowers are purple. Late in the season after the flowers drop, seed pods form.
Winter annual broadleaf weeds germinate in the fall or winter and grow during any warm weather, which may occur in the winter, but otherwise remain somewhat dormant during the winter. They resume growth and produce seed in the spring and die as temperatures increase in late spring and early summer. They quickly invade thin turf areas especially where there is good soil moisture. Shade may also encourage growth. Many have a prostrate growth habit and are not affected by mowing. A dense, vigorous turf is the best way to reduce the encroachment of winter annual weeds. First, select adapted turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth.
Growth Season/Life Cycle
winter annual weed
four or more
may or may not have leaf hairs
linear/oblong/oval/egg-shaped/elliptical; tendrils on ends of older leaves - aid in climbing
1 - 2 inches