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Posted by emmasaunt Z5b PA (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 3, 05 at 1:05
|Can you suggest
something that will do well in full sun, clay soil with loads of rocks,
and weeds everywhere, that will help to hold a steep slope in place.
This is a hillside along our driveway - maybe 150 ft long and 10 feet
high- this is in North Central PA - cold snowy winters, and hot,
sometimes dry, summers. This planting needs to be something that is low
maintenance b/c we are getting up there and will not be able to weed,
prune, deadhead easily without breaking bones! Any Ideas or am I
dreaming that there may be something with all these characteristics? At
this point we are not able to terrace - although that would probably be
the ideal thing. TIA|
would say a combination of 'yellow archangel' (also called false
lamium, and sometimes goutweed, though 'archangel' is what it's listed
as in the hortiplex here) and crown vetch would be your best
bet...liberally studded with yucca plants, if you can find a nice
strong back to put them in place. they don't seem to mind clay soil as
long as it's on a slope... |
I'm a pennsy native, and the combination
of slope and shale is daunting- my parents added the third S- shade.
the archangel is the ONLY think that grows on their property besides
mayapples...but I got my original plugs from a lady who had it in full
sun as a groundcover for when the deer ate everything else.
roses, lavendar and artemesia also make good second-string choices,
once the others have established themselves...
and I wouldn't
worry about the weeds too much- my mom got over them when she retired,
and just has me scythe things off at knee height round about july
(going over there this weekend, the rain's been helping things along)
wish I were closer (I'm out on the delaware) I'd come give you a hand!
Vetch is bad news and takes over ajoining open areas and refuses to be
removed from where it is not wanted. I would not reccomend planting it,
as it is very invasive and exludes everything else where it grows
densely-including yucca, wich might be crowded out in a little as 3
Table Mountain Pine Grows naturally that sort of ecotype
(almost exlusivly actually) and has low sweeping limbs that prevent the
rain from washing the soil away. its pretty and has great wildlife
value, and would probably help stabilize the soil better than just
Other attractive shrubby plants that would
go well with table mountain pine are: Bear oak (Quercus ilicifolia),
mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), and low sweet blueberry
(Vaccinium angustifolium) are the most important stand components in
the northern part of the range of Table Mountain pine and all are very
attractive to humans and wldlife alike, unlike tha groutweed and crown
vetch, wich would be reletevly unappealing to wildlife, and those
plants invade and destroy existing wildlife habitat.
Yoy could try
little bluestem as gass, tough it takes a few years before it really
gets top growth going- it invests most of its early energy into root
Here is a link that might be useful: IMPACTS AND THREATS POSED BY CORONILLA VARIA (Crown Vetch)
the advice of LOL on Crown Vetch as it is almost evil in nature. (Sorry
Chinagirl). Look into Gro-low sumac. It is extremely drought tolerant,
spreads nearly 8' wide, and has a root system suited for slope
retention. Excellent fall color is also a plus. Most weeds cannot
compete with it, with the exception of crown vetch! It gets almost 3'
high where I grow it. Early yellow flowers are ok but not worth writing
home about. Good luck!|
is PA, the home of crown vetch (compliments of Penn State ag school,
who were trying to develop a nitrogen-fixing, slope-holding ground
the only place it doesn't seem to be a total pest?
bush blueberry is a great idea, though- especially if there are
younguns in the area who'd care to harvest them for a share of the
a low-growing sumac? ooh! yum! glorious ! MUCH prettier than crown vetch ;)!
face it, neither low grow sumac or crown vetch is very pretty. I would
not use the words yum and glorious to describe either. No disrespect
intended lol. |
Sometimes you have to pick from a short list of plant
alternatives. Perhaps I am wrong about crown vetch, but I am seeing it
advance at an alarming rate. Have seen it overtake groundcovers, invade
grass, continue up a hill of shrubs. I am beginning to think it is the
worst weed I have ever had to deal with. ooh! yummy!
|I agree with sage lover about crown vetch. A nasty weed. |
Has anyone suggested sedum? There are many varieties in various heights and would make a lovely pattern.
|Check this site out- low prices on small groundcover plants. |
They say they're well rated by GardenWatchdog-
Here is a link that might be useful: Classy Groundcovers
also in zone 5 in NY and have a similar problem to you - steep slope
along driveway, major soil erosion and grass won't grow but I also have
a group of Norway maples that are nutrient hogs and provide heavy
shade. Three years ago I planted a combination of pachyasandra, vinca
and ajuga. The vinca has been winning the battle on being fruitful and
multiplying without any terracing or special treatment. But it's been a
slow process. One thing I am tempted to try this fall is to lay down
landscape fabric over a part of my slope and then create holes in the
fabric to plant additional vinca. The fabric prevents self-sowing so
any vinca I plant will have to grow upwards and sideways, but I'm
thinking the fabric may prevent the soil and nutrient run-off so I'm
going to give it a try.|
I am apparantly from the same area as you---getting older too---steep
roadside bank too---clay rocks and fullsun. I planted creeping phlox,
daffodils, grape hyacinths, and daylillies. Purple coneflowers reseeded
onto the bank and I have also started transplanting Iris. They all do
great. What I did was spray a total vegetation killer in a blocked out
area at a time (an area I knew I would be able to get planted that
season) It has taken me 3 seasons, but I am on my last small area. The
last 20 feet!!! I had a 220' stretch of bank to do. The plants all do
well on their own, the creeping phlox keeps the weeds down, while
allowing the iris, daylilies and coneflowers to come up through. Please
don't put that awful crownvetch in---it is one of the worst things to
kill off, as bad as creeping charlie. Ann|
it may be useful on highway cuts, it should be against the law to sell
crown vetch to civilians! Terrible, invasive stuff. |
'Gro-lo' is attractive. And another shrubby spreader is Hypericum
calycinum. Good for exactly the situation described.
|Juniperus horizontalis 'Bar Harbor' |
are also other low spreading groundcover junipers that have yellow and
blue foliage to give a tapastry effect. This is assuming you want to
plant it and leave it and not be out tinkering in it as they are
You can also interplant with heathers, Calluna vulgaris.
are evergreen, love good drainage and sun and bloom and are hardy to
zone 4 mostly. Ericas aren't all hardy, you want Callunas.
|Oops. 'Bar Harbor' is blue, contrast with bright green and yellow.|
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