My Hillside...

lovelycherry(Z7 Long Island)December 19, 2006

I have been slowly evaluating my slope/hillside. The back of my house has a yard then it drops down toward the Railroad track. Beyond that is a large well cared for cemetry. The top of the train is visible from the back of the house. It is a local commuter train and moves slowly through the yard.

When they built the Railroad they cut it through a sandy hill.

That is my hillside a sandy slope.. that you slide down on if your feet are not placed properly. The previous owners ignored it by placing evergree trees at the top edge of the slope, then allowing the hill beyond to become overrun with weeds. Tree of heaven, wild grape vine and a few hawthorne trees have been living on the hill. The grape vine was in the canopy of the trees shading the ground so nothing was really growing at the soil level, creating more erosion.

I have been slowly exposing the hill to see its shape and what needs to be done. I hopefully killed the tree of heaven and pulled the grape vines off the hawthorne trees.

At first was in a panic that it would erode away with the next heavy down pour. I have since calmed down.

I have done alot of reading about erosion, soil, plants and mulch.

I am happy to find that others have gone before me in solving many of the problems I am facing. I mulched it as best I could with leaves, left over mums from the curb and pumpkins. But the hill is a bottomless pit (my husband kids me that anything I put at the top will fall to the base.. like it is pulled by a mysterious magnet)

My husband and I are in the process of buying a truck. The mini van just can't haul the stuff I need for my hill.

What the hill really needs is soil.

Any one have a inexpensive solution to getting soil?

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Can't think of any inexpensive sources of soil that are trustworthy. Some contractors might be willing to give you some "fill" but you never know what is in it. I suppose you could make your own "soil" by piling up and composting a lot of organic matter but that is a slow process.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 10:02AM
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I'm still thinking about your hillside.
How much flat (more or less) space do you have at the bottom of the hill? You need to start from a stable platform. If you have some stable ground to work with at the bottom of the hill you can build your first terrace course relatively easily and add additional levels on top of that one. Remember that the trick is to let the water out but to keep the soil in. I'm wondering if some wire gabions would be useful for your project. Maybe some sort of willow stakes or some other small tree or shrub that is used for hills?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 3:16PM
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lovelycherry(Z7 Long Island)

bob, by willow stakes do you mean using sticks like a fence? Hmm interesting idea.
The more time I spend on the hill the more I see possibilities.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 5:25PM
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Willow stakes are dormant cuttings from willows that you jam into or partially bury in the soil. When they break dormancy they take root. You can buy them from Ernst Conservation Seeds and probably many other sources. If you want to come to my church in White Plains and take a few cuttings of red osier dogwood let me know and you can do that too.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 6:34PM
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    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 10:36AM
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baylynx(9b CA)

Unable to view your photo(s). The link you posted takes me to photobucket, but after registering I still don't see how I can view your pics. I have a downsloping lot and my front yard slopes down from the street to the house. I'm looking for ideas on establishing a hillside garden. I have a 40'x40' area that was covered with juniper groundcover that I hated and had removed. Thought your photos might have some interesting ideas.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 3:16AM
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