Best mulch for a hill?

dainaadeleAugust 17, 2006

Does anyone have a "best" mulch? One that does not wash down as easy? I just started to use the long pine needles from under our tree. Not too bad. I was not able to put it on very thick as we only have one tree and no one around here sells it. (They looked at me like they had never heard of it and I remember seeing it on the east coast all over.) While I think some of it has been displaced during rainstorms, it gets caught on some vegetation and then stops. I am guessing this from some areas that opened up through the summer, but it is not pilling up at the bottom of the hill. In theory, if put on thick enough, it would stay.

Anyone else find something that works? I am stuck mulching the areas for a few years until everything grows in.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

I just use the shredded hardwood mulch. I've not had problems with it washing down. I do mulch heavily, just so I don't have to do it every year. I also use leaf compost, I think it does a better job of soaking up the water but it doesn't last as long.

I have used water breaks until the plants get established. I had some edging used for brick pavers, it's basically an upside down T shape where the top part of the T gets secured to the ground. It is flexible and will bend around the plants. It sticks up about an 1 1/2 inches which I covered with mulch, it still showed a little but not real obvious.. That did help slow down the runoff.

I used the pine needle mulch once, I loved the look and it doesn't seem to compact as bad as the shredded mulch. But it was expensive so I only did a small area.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now why did I never think of the prefab edging!!! Thanks! My hill is a constant work in progress, I get a little more done each year. That way I can maintain each new section as I clear it. The area was severley neglected for several years and there are alot of Hackberry trees that keep trying to grow. I am slowly digging out each of them and then shifting dirt into a hill form by hand. Hey, it's cheeper than a YMCA membership!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

A plastic sheet type mulch won't wash away, but it doesn't look good unless you have veggies popping out from benieth it.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

the shredded has worked best here, also. this was our first year using it on that steep of a hill, and i think we'll keep using it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am very happy with my pine needle mulch on my slope. I am lucky to have a row of long needle pines along the [property line. I also planted daylilies and vinca on the hill and spreading juniper and creeping phlox at the bottom next to the driveway. This keeps the mulch and soil from washng down.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was going to say, pine straw as we call it in GA, is pretty good on hills. It's not perfect though. I can't figure out why it's only sold in GA, SC and NC. Especially since it's havested in Florida but they don't even sell it there!
It's also remarkably good in wind. You'd think it would blow away but not so.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used a North American Green erosion control blanket (it is an actual blanket made out of various natural fibers, etc. and biodegrades over time) over grass seed which grew up through the blanket. There are many other brands but that happens to be the one that I used. The edges of the blanket are buried and the blanket is also held in place with "U" shaped staples. Keep people off of the blanket until it has done its job. If you can find a local distributor you can save a lot on shipping. Also, do searches on "erosion control" as that industry does a lot with steep slopes. I read "Erosion Control" magazine online sometimes for ideas. There are other things you can do also like "hydro mulch", etc. but I have no personal experience with that and it probably requires a contractor with the right machinery to apply.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mulching is new to me, 'cause we bought our first house 2 months ago. How long does it take for pine straw mulch to break down? How thick do you put it down on a hill, and do you use a weed block underneath?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All I have access to, and all I can afford, is the leaf mulch that falls from the who-knows-what-kind-they-are trees on the 45 degree slope of nearly open rock in my "yard", which is really the side of a mountain. Underneath is lovely but very rocky forest duff, which is what I want to keep from eroding until I can plant it in terraces like the rest of the slope. As the winter rains are just beginning here, I have cleared all the leaves to the side, uncovered the contours of the rock as well as I can, and will now recover the soil for the winter, to leave the pockets of soil there and let the rain wash clean the rest. In spring, I hope to have little areas of good soil, to plant with whatever local rock slope-loving plants I can scrounge. The leaves are great, they don't blow away, they rot into living yummy stuff, and they're free. Now if I could just find the plants I read about........

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a new product to help keep mulch in place on hillsides. Go to for more details.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thread revival.

Out here is southern California, we don't have as big an issue with rain washing bark mulch downhill, although the few times it does rain, it rains hard. I do see bark mulch eventually work its way downhill, though. In my experience, wind and gravity are often the biggest culprits, with water rilling from irrigation lines a close third. Over time, bark mulch settles at the bottom of the hill while the top third or so looks bare.

There is a new product on the market now from a company here in SoCal called Woven Earth. It is a mulch, but in a blanket form. Unlike a traditional erosion control blanket, this 'mulch mat' is opaque, so doesn't allow anything to grow through it. It's comparable to black plastic, but made from industrial hemp fibers, so it's 100% natural and biodegradable. It's easy to install and customize, and looks great, too. You can use metal staples to anchor it, similar to an erosion control blanket, or use biodegradable anchor stakes for a completely envrionmentally-friendly solution. Water conservation properties of hemp are fantastic, and with the drought on everyone's mind out here, this mulch is getting attention.

Disclosure: I work for Woven Earth, but use the product in my own yard. As I get older, the convenience of an effective mulch in blanket form, that's biodegradable, is becoming more and more important to me.

The mats are available for pre-sale now, with delivery starting at the end of February.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woven Earth homepage

    Bookmark   January 3, 2015 at 11:43AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Plants for Swampy Hill
What low maintenance plants would be good for a hill...
Steep, rocky large backyard a disaster
I have a large backyard that has a few fruit trees...
VERY steep hill in backyard...need suggestions pls
Hi there, I am new to this website and posted this...
what to plant on hill
I've always wanted a beautiful artsy garden and now...
Steep front yard hill?
We have a very steep front yard hill that I have no...
Sponsored Products
Hughes Leather Loveseat - Brighton Lemon Grass Yellow
Joybird Furniture
Howdy Cowboy Cupcake Kit
$8.99 | zulily
Top Knobs Aspen Peak Knob - M1486
$18.45 | Hayneedle
Coral Pink Ruffle 18 x 18 Pillow
$31.80 | Bellacor
Thermocast Kitchen Wentworth Drop-in Acrylic 25x22x9 0-Hole Single Bowl Kitchen
Home Depot
Riviera One-Light Brushed Nickel Dome Pendant with Matte Opal Glass Shade
$120.00 | Bellacor
Pup Shelf Piece
| Dot & Bo
Fiesta Scarlet Jumbo Cup 18 oz. - Set of 4 - HPJC839
$47.96 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™