Inexpensive shrub to prevent soil erosion on hilly slope

hotpprsSeptember 6, 2010

Hello. I have a hilly slope where my driveway was built up to keep it level as it approaches my house. The slope goes downwards to the North, about 8 to 10 feet to my neighbor's property line, which is kind of a dead area as it is the back corner of his house where he doesn't really go.

I had autumn olive shrubs there which grew too high, then wild raspberry bushes grew there which got out of control and weren't lush enough to keep weeds from growing through them. So I just sprayed roundup to kill everything and start fresh.

I am looking for something that is inexpensive, that will grow on a hill, with partial shade, will replicate on it's own like raspberries, can shade out weeds, not grow more then 4 or 6 feet tall, something not designed to be trimmed perfectly like a square hedge, and possibly provide some color in the spring, summer or fall.

I was thinking of some kind of forsythia that I see growing well in my neighborhood. But not sure if that is the best to shade out weeds, may be another mess like the raspberry bushes. These stink weeds grow all through the raspberry bushes. Any ideas on forsythia or other ideas?

This is in zone 6 of the southern New York suburbs in Westchester county.

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Google diervilla lonicera and diervilla sessilifolia and see if either of those strike your fancy. Both should do well in your situation. Fall color isn't much to brag about though.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 8:01PM
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Grow low sumac.(great fall color).
Google that.
Perfect for you.
Best erosion controls are 1. Grasses 2. Sumac (any kind of sumac, but grow low will be easy for you to control.)
3. Any shrub or tree or plant with a fiborous root system.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 9:42PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Hypericum calycinum can be a bit of a thug but would do the job.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hypericum calycinum

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 6:33AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I second sumac gro low.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 6:40AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

every county in every state in the union has a SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT ...

find yours.. call them.. its your tax dollars.. use them ...

by definition.. you are asking about soil conservation ....

in spring.. they offer bulk plants for uses like those you ask about... sometimes as cheap as 25 plants for $16 or so ...

if you were to use said cheap plants to the tune of 80% of the project.. then you can add some of the foo foo ornamental plants near the driveway .... for dramatic effect ..

give them a call and let us know ..


    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 8:51AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

As you have found out, anything you plant on the slope is going to have to be weeded. 'Shading out' weeds isn't really a viable strategy when talking about woody weeds. Since the forest primeval was a very dark and gloomy place, a lot of the plants that grew there adapted to growing for years in quite heavy shade. So planting a thick shrub simply makes it harder to get at the weeds when they have grown taller than the shrub and become visible. Around here, it is very common for maples and sumac to suddenly show themselves over the top of junipers when nobody has weeded out the juniper bases.

The usual, practical solution is to see if the slope is mowable. If it is, then let the lawnmower deal with the mess. If it isn't, then plan on going through it once or twice a year and pulling weeds.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Thanks for the replies.
The area is definitely not mowable or trimmable with a weed whacker, too steep. I will look into the sumac.
Actually I did buy conservation plantings when I first bought our house for the back yard which is adjacent to the woods. They worked fine, and were inexpensive. That's where the autumn olive came from. The ones in the back are huge now, hard to believe they came from these little branches.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 1:19PM
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cotoneaster does real well on a slope and stops weeds. It will be evergreen or semi-evergreen and look somewhat decent in the winter if that is of interest. It fills in surprisingly fast too. I bought 10 initially to cover my slope and spaced them 4-6 feet apart, but in hindsight, 3 would have been fine. They really really cover some real estate! Mine are 'Coral Beauty'. small white flowers in spring and red berries in fall/winter is a nice touch.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:41PM
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