Low growing, drought tolerant shrubs for a lousy looking hillside

meadow_lark(7)April 4, 2012

So... our yard and property lost 48 trees in August, when that big wind storm blew through Southern Maryland... (Oak, pine, dogwood, cedar all came down...) Our area was hit very hard...

We are left with a southern-facing hillside that once was wooded, that is now close to barren. The soil is clay... and is awful to work with... so we realize we will have to add amendments as we go... We've tried putting mulch on it... but of course... it runs right back down the slope. The hill looks like Godzilla came through, chomped my trees, and then took a major leak on it for good measure!

I'm drawing up sketches, and trying to figure out what to do... Putting in terraces would be extremely expensive... and so I'm looking at "living" options.

So far, I've put in some iris, buddleia, a Japanese Maple, a viburnum, a smoke bush, and a red flowering buckeye... There are 3 baby oaks that survived, a couple of sweet gum, and 2 small cedars.

I would like to make some long sweeps (groupings) of low-growing plants, and I'm considering the following: Buddleia Low and Behold "Lilac Chip", Fragrant Sumac "Gro Low", and Russian Sage. I could use a few more suggestions. NO VINCA, NO PACHYSANDRA! The previous home owners planted that all over, and it's invading everywhere! I'd also like to stay away from junipers, as this area will need quite a bit of upkeep (due to the remaining pines and sweet gum)... Junipers are hard to work around...

I'd appreciate any suggestions! Thanks so much... Shelley

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NJ Tea. Itea.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 8:50AM
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lindera benzoin, prefers shade but does OK on the prairie; caterpillar host for butterlies, red berries in fall for wildlife

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 4:33AM
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winter jasmine--evergreen, spreading, crazy tough. It's not terribly dense though.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:16AM
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Though I personally don't like it, cotoneaster might fit the bill.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:40PM
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How about some native wildflowers, like Rudbeckia (aka Black-Eyed Susan)?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:05PM
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azaleaphile(z7 MD)

Might want to try Rus aromatica 'Gro-low' (selection of native sumac). It stays a couple of feet high at most but spreads well. Leaves are small, shiny, dark green; fall color is a nice red. I have a patch in my native corner, and it has filled in very nicely without any care except in the first year. Another possibility is northern sea oats. You are welcome to come dig some out of my garden, they spread prolifically and deer don't eat them. Nice seed heads in fall, strong root systems.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Since you had some pines and therefore must have some acidic soil, you might try a few blueberries. They seem to like well drained areas, and granite rocks.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:04PM
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