planting shrubs on a hillside

creamgogo(il)August 16, 2006

that is quite a challenge. I HAD to have these five globe arborvitae in the PERFECT spot on a hill. i didn't want them sticking out of the hill, but pointed upward as they should be. the back of the rootball was not problem. but, the front of the rootball was impossible to get covered with dirt, as i couldn't go any deeper with the hole or the back would have been way too low. i had to end up building two foot retaining walls in front of each to fill with soil.

how do you do this?

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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

That is a tough one. I usually end up putting them in with a slight tilt and they eventually straighten up, I don't think that would work with the globe arborvitae though. I do try to mound up the dirt in the front with a slight dip in the middle to stop the water from running off and mulch heavily in the front to help keep the roots cool until they get established.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 10:18PM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

I found when planting on hills to plant small young plants because the root systems are more flexible, you do have to be patient though.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 12:35PM
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bludog1(4 Rockey Mt)

I haven't posted in quite a while but I live in Colorado in the mountains, and have learned quite a few tricks about planting on a hill. One thing that helped a lot is to just cut the bottom of the plastic pot the plant comes in off and plant pot and all, This way water goes down to the roots and not down the hill. Also using rocks in front of the plant will help hold it in place. Gardening on a slop is quite a challange. Nice to meet you all and will be checking in to learn what ever I can. I am going to try the pine needle mulch.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 1:17PM
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We live at the edge of town on a north-facing slope in the city limits. There is a somewhat steep wooded hillside behind our house. Keeping this hillside from invading our backyard is a 2-foot high, 50-foot long limestone fence. We own a distance of about 30 feet up the hill, and (while we finally have the prickly ash under control) this area is dominated mostly by blackberry bushes and poison ivy. About 30 more feet up the hill are young deciduous trees; farther up are mature deciduous trees. It's a very natural looking setting (lots of deer, raccoons, squirrels, birds and rabbits visit regularly) so I think terracing or fencing would look out of place. Instead, I would like to have plantings from the edge of the rock wall up the hill at least 15 feet that would offer some uniformity and screening yet would not look too "groomed" compared to the rugged terrain above. Are there bushes or shrubs that would make a "natural fence" and blend in? What could I plant below the bushes that would nicely fill the space between the bushes and the rock wall? I hope I will receive some suggestions on what to do!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 9:49PM
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lyn_r(z6 OH)

My suggestion would be holly shrubs. They look good all year and blend quite well into a natural setting.

Are you wanting flowers or groundcovers for the area between the shrubs and the rock wall, and how much sun does it get?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 9:06PM
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lyn_r(z6 OH)

One more idea. Mix a few barberry shrubs with the hollies for a great color contrast.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:36PM
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Need some help, Have a west facing steep slope. Have a retaining wall at bottom of hill. Have gotten different opinions on what to do for erosion control before planting. Plan on putting down a weed barrier, plastic roll woven w/ hay which we were told is used a lot for erosion. Was going to plant Junipers and surround with organice mulch. Not sure about the plastic hay roll?? What are your thoughts.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 8:08PM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

Why is it that people highjack topics??? You are allowed to start your own topic free of charge? Mixing it all up just makes it hard for others who want to read about planting trees on hills.

Re; planting on a hillside.

I create what is in effect a flat area, large enough to plant the tree. For the front I usually add some rocks to errosion control. You can then plant the tree flat. Over time, the flat part will tend to become a slope again, but by then the roots will have taken hold.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:58PM
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mary_pnw_7b(Oly WA z7b)

Thanks madtripper for bringing up the hijack issue. It makes me crazy too!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 7:20PM
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Hi all. Just found the new forum and look forward to learning what everyone else does to handle their hills!

I have found that using sections (about 2'pieces) of black plastic edging works pretty well. it forms a temporary retaining wall for the front of most of my average sized plants until they have a chance to dig in. It has a natural curve from being rolled up and I use cedar shims as stakes to keep them at the proper arc. It is very cheap to install quite a few at one time for a large install. it's easy to re-position and lasts for several seasons. I have also stacked two or three pieces on top of each other and secured them with survey stakes (think Buffy the Vampire size wooden stakes!) for a larger tree/shrub installation.

Granted, it's not very attractive on a newly planted slope, but the mulch and good topsoil stays where I put it and they are removed after the plant is established.

happy holidays

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 5:19PM
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If anyone is still interested in planting on a slope, this is what I do.

I take a good size cardboard box and plant in that--could be a box within a box to make it more stable. Dirt on the bottom plant and fill in the sides. On the outside I surround the outside with newspaper--more on the downside and cover everything with bark mulch. I work in an office so get both of these items readily. Has worked for me for hyderangers and various other plants. Good luck

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:06PM
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I am going to be planting my north facing slope with Salvia, Sage, Rudebeckia etc. Do you think I should keep the plastic pot with the bottom cut of and slit it vertically so the plant can still grow but it will help keeping the water from just going straight down. They are all going to be 1 gallon plants. OR should I go with boxes?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 1:23PM
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We are currently doing a lot of planting on a large and fairly steep (45 degree) slope. We have so far had luck by putting a semi-circle of stones on the downhill side to hold the dirt in. In effect, we build a shelf of dirt (supported with the stones) for the plants to sit in.

Nothing has been in long enough to die yet, so I'm not sure how it will work in the long run. In the short term, everything seems to be thriving. I did notice that in our area, wild trees, flowers, and shrubs seem to have no problem growing on steep surfaces. We will see if our transplants fare as well.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 10:20PM
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OhioValleyGal that is a great idea with the black plastic edging!!! I will have to try that in the next few weeks. I have a nice sized hillside facing east on a fairly steep angle and have been wondering what to do since I ripped all the B.R. Juniper out. I would like some grouncover but also some I dunno what the heck to do. (I am a total newbie when it comes to gardening....I don't even know what zone I am in)!!!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 9:42PM
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