Slope full of weeds, need fast growing ground cover/weed control

tinag333April 29, 2009

Hi everyone, I've enjoyed reading the forums. So much useful information.

We moved to this house a few years ago. The former owners allowed all the weeds to go to seed for years. We have a lot of beautiful plants, shrubs and trees and we've slowly been taking care of small areas and trying to get the weeds under control. We have two little ones so we don't have a lot of time to devote to this.

It's time to take care of the slope in our back yard. We have every weed you can think of and most are 3-4 feet high by the end of summer. You may be able to tell from the picture that last year we got as far as laying weed control fabric down but never covered it and the weeds grew through and took over again.

We need a cheap groundcover that will hopefully take care of weeds at the same time.

We have a lot of other ivy in another area of the yard and I was wondering if it would be feasible to transplant a bunch of that to the slope?

Or should I tackle the weeds first? I don't like using things like Round-up so I was going to use agricultural vinegar.

If I do use another weed control fabric, will the ivy grow over it or no? I'm guessing no since I'm not sure where they'd root.

The key is that we need a cheap solution. We don't plan to be here that much longer.

Also, I included a picture of some sort of vine or bush that we have a lot of, I was wondering if anyone can tell me what it is?

Also, we are in PA and the slope is mostly clay covered by a few inches of nicer dirt.

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airydana(7b AL)

Liriope (monkey grass) of any kind is great to hold a slope. It is a "renewable resource" - it spreads and forms clumps, grows by underground runner. I would also suggest hemerocalis (daylilies) and any other spreading perennials, and shrubs such as spirea, viburnums, forsythia shrubs.

I have also used annual flowering Lantana on a slope. It grows fast, has terrific foliage on strong sturdy stems, and lots of sweet-smelling flowers - gold or multi-colored. Pretty but tough. It will die back at frost time. You can mass the same color on the whole bank. Because the plants mature quickly, I think they're a good value.

Euonymous is a good low shrub that spreads and will help hold a slope. It can be pruned and contained, and other plalnts can be put amongst it. But this might take longer than you feel you have.

I tend to not like ivy too much -- it gets invasive, and is "snaky" in that you can't see what is lurking in it... just my experience with kids in the summertime yard, loosing balls, frisbees, etc. in the ivy. Plus it will take over your trees.

Good luck - it doesn't look too terribly bad! Could be really great with just a little effort!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 2:41AM
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Thank you so much! I like the monkey grass. I think it could be great too. :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:39AM
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Daylillies and blue rug junipers!

I am in the process of revitalizing our side yard slope which is basically weeds and grass and was/still is a bear to mow.

You have the grass removed already, so you are ahead of the game. I would remove the fabric, add some good soil to build it to a nice angle, plant and mulch thoroughly. Also, get some large rocks / mini boulders and place them strategically to add some texture and foundation to it.

Plus, get some hostas! they will do well in that area as well!

Also, I do not know where you live, but if you are close to New Hope, PA, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve still has their native plant sale going on this weekend. A lot of real nice native PA plants that thrive in this soil and climate. That means less work for you and hubby once established as they are native. Just a thought.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 12:53PM
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gardengranny2(6 CT)

If you take a look at photos I have posted on Cottage Garden-gallery (see "Things are starting to fill in") you will understand that I know from what I speak (my whole garden is a slope).

When we bought this property many years ago, it was covered with maple trees which provided slightly less than total darkness under which nothing would grow (except weeds).

I tackled this mess one area at a time. As my knowlege grew--so did the number and size of the beds. Try to do only what you can reasonably do well at the moment. You will have the time, however limited , to monitor your beds and watch for problems, happy accidents (like a volunteer seedling having planted itself). You will also learn if the plant choices you have made like the home you have provided them. This alone could save you a lot of frustration, time and financial investment.

Having tried landscape fabric-difficult to keep in place,mulch tends to slide off (particularly in a hard rain).
I prefer to use the 'lasagna method'. Lay down 8 layers of wet newspaper overlapping edges so weeds can't find a way through and cover with several inches of mulch (I find shredded bark works best because it will knit together and prevent sliding. Many local landfills provide this to the community at little to no cost.).

Leave to overwinter. This method will not only help to control the weed problem, but will also add beneficial elements to the quality of the clay soil.

Ask your friends and relatives if they would help you by saving their old newspapers for you (you will need quite a bit).

I don't know the ages of your little ones, but if they are anything like my two kids were at toddler stage and up, there is nothing they would like more than helping mom and dad. Especially if it involves the opportunity to "play" in the water and get soaking wet outside. You could try this project on a hot summer day

In the spring you can plant. What plants will depend on your light conditions.

I hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 11:35AM
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