We are in Zone 7 and need a ground cover for an embankment at the rear of our house. This is a new house with clay soil and we would like a ground cover to prevent erosion. Thanks.
A bit more information would be helpful before really appropriate suggestions can be offered. Where exactly in zone 7 (not all zone 7's are created equal :-))? What are the light conditions...full sun, partial sun/shade, full shade? How steep a bank? How large an area? Is there a tendency for erosion now? Does the area experience seasonal runoff?
Erosion control and slope stabilization are tricky issues. For smaller areas that have not yet experienced erosion and are not subject to significant seasonal runoff, pretty much any groundcover in the attached link would work. For serious erosion issues, groundcovers are not the answer. Deeply penetrating roots are better at maintaining and stabilizing slopes than the more common shallow, spreading roots of groundcovers, so look to larger plant types with deeper root growth. Native plants that grow under similar conditions are always a good choice.
And if the slope is quite steep, you may need to consider something like geotextiles (i.e., jute netting) as well as plantings. And remember that even very drought tolerant plants will need regular irrigation for at least a season after planting to become established.
Here is a link that might be useful: common groundcovers for erosion control
Thank you gardengal48. We just moved to the Smokey Mountain area outside of Ashville. We are having a log home built on the top of a mountain and the embankments is from the grading that was done. The embankment is about 60 feet long and 10 feet high and made of clay. I am garden stupid so didn't know what to do about erosion. We are very secluded so any planting wouldn't bother neighbors. It is a steep embankment so I will look into geotextiles (never heard of them before). Anyway, thank you so much for your response.
I'm very impressed with Forsythia "Gold Tide" as an embankment groundcover. I wish I could show you pics of my own plantings. I never got around to photographing it. Well maybe this May. My plantings are about 5 years old. This Creeping Forsythia get about 2-3 feet tall. Many catalog discriptions say 20". They are wrong. It's cascadings, and never looks worn out in the summer. The foliage is a beautiful lime green, and the flowers are more of a lemon yellow. The link below has a good pic and description.
Here is a link that might be useful: Forsythia