Ground Cover Suggestions?

amyinmo(z5 MO)May 3, 2009

I'm trying to decide which groundcover would be best for a steep, currently weed- and grass-covered slope. I need something low-maintenance, that will hopefully choke out weeds (tons of dandelions and a few other things), help prevent soil erosion, and we would like it to be attractive most (or all) of the year. We really would rather NOT cover the slope with rock, unless it's our only option left. I'd almost rather let the dandelions take over the area than do *another* rock slope, lol.

The area currently gets lots of sun (dawn to dusk), but we will be planting a tall hedge row (Wall of China hedges) along the top (East side) of it for privacy reasons, so it will be getting much less sunlight than it does now (probably 3-4 hours?). The soil is well-drained for the most part.

I have been looking at Wintergreen, Creeping Myrtle, Purple Wintercreeper, Red Creeping Sedum, and Irish Moss. Are any of them troublesome (i.e., too invasive, don't do well on steep slopes, high-maintenance, etc.) or not a good fit for our conditions?

Are there others I should consider? The only ground cover we KNOW we do not want is Creeping Phlox of any kind--it's very, very common in our neighborhood, and we do not think it's very pretty when it isn't in bloom.

I'm leaning toward Wintergreen, partly because the berries are edible, but mostly because it looks attractive most of the year--at least in pictures, lol. Does it choke out weeds well? Will it grow okay on the west side of tall hedges? Will it spread fairly quickly without becoming too invasive? Or would something else work better to do what we want?

Am I asking too many questions? lol

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!


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If its going to relatively shady up to the hedge, you might want to try periwinkle (Vinca Minor). It is rather invasive, but it won't cross direct sunlight. I pull up vines in the spring, as part of my shady lawn is grass, and its sends out creepers every year. Of course, it isn't messing with the sunnier side of the lawn, and looks good until about October when it goes brown, then after mowing or weed eating the dead stuff away in the spring it gets green and has flowers.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:20AM
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We have poppy mallow(callirhoe involucrata) in two spots in our yard & are very pleased with it. It won't be attractive in the winter. It does bloom all summer and prefers drier conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kemper Center for Home Gardening/poppy mallow

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 9:04AM
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Call me a gardening dweeb, but your question was interesting enough to me that I came up with a sample landscaping plan for the type of slope you're talking about. I put several different kind of ground covers in it after reading your different criteria. I think using a variety of covers will help you get some that spread quickly so the area is filled but avoid those invasive ones you'll regret; plus you would get a variety of evergreen, deciduous, flowering, and the like. Anyway, if you'd like to see the plan I made, it's on my website (linked below). Hope it helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: MyMidwestYard - groundcover/slope landscape plan

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 3:10PM
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Lauren_IA(4b IA)

My go-to ground cover of choice is Big-root geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum). Here's why: full sun-to-shade; moist to dry soil; fills a space within a season but is easily removed just by pulling up; never invasive; pretty bright pink blooms in spring (just finished) with some rebloom; lovely fall color; divides and transplants like a dream; shades out all but the most determined weeds which are usually easy to remove because they generally can't get a firm grip under the geranium shade.

I currently am putting it to the ultimate test. I just transplanted some under a large blue spruce, i.e. dry and total shade, next to an open field that receives a direct hit from our north winter winds. I've watered it to get it established. We'll see what happens next!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:30PM
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