cover for drainage ditch

tybeetree(z6 TN)June 20, 2005

We recently built a home in a neighborhood where drainage ditches border the back of each property. We live in a cul-de-sac and our backyard is bordered by the ditch on two sides. One side has a nice, gentle grade, and the other side is pretty steep with some erosion issues already appearing. Instead of installing a big, ugly privacy fence like many of my neighbors, I've decided to plant the ditch bank with ornamentals to create a rich wildlife habitat, predominately for birds. I've already planted several viburnum, silky dogwood, and river birch, but I'd like to plant a good ground cover on the steep areas to control erosion and shade out weeds. I've thought about lirope, phlox, and some other things. The ditch will run about 1/3 to 1/2 full in a heavy rainfall, but is normally empty. The steep part faces east and enjoys full sun. Suggestions? Thanks in advance! Mark.

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it's diversity that will hold the bank together. so the more kinds of things you can plant there, the better.

I'd start at the bottom of the ditch with water-tolerant species like flags, the native daylily species, and I'm sure there's something native to your area that tends to grow at the base of creekbeds. Primrose actually loves to live creekside, so you may be able to get them to adapt to the 'run-off' lifestyle. woodland phlox as well as the creeping form make good plants for naturalizing, and Lamium is a plant I never fail to plug- it goes from near full sun to pretty deep shade, and the silver and green foliage is always attractive.

I'd put in more berry-bearing bushes...blueberries if your ground will support them (acidic soil is a must for them) or check for native species...

this also has a list of things that your local aggies wish you would avoid, since they're better suited to the area than the natives.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 11:04AM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

Mulberries will live anywhere in TN, and the birds love them! Same with dogwoods, redbuds, etc. I highly recommend the natives. Be aware that that culvert is going to be a magnet for weed seeds, and if you bring the birds, they are going to poop their last lunch of privet seeds in your culvert. Not to cast doom and gloom, but I have a steep hill on my property and it's an ongoing battle.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 11:01PM
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