Help finding a native groundcover

katrinavhh(7)April 11, 2010

I am in the early stages (of what will be a looong process) of restoring 4.3 acres from what has been a privet-infested mess to what I hope will be a natural woodland habitat. (DH and I just built a house on the property and are tackling the land bit by bit.)

I am currently in need of something to stabilize a large, flat area bordering a creek at the back of the property. I really want to put something here that makes sense ecologically for the area, but I'm not sure where to start to look.

Before the floods that hit Atlanta last fall, the area was a somewhat grassy meadow, but the waters brought a lot of sand and muck and debris and what was growing there is all gone. We had the debris cleared and the area smoothed, and the soil needs to be stabilized.

A few tidbits:

- The space is approx. 6-7,000 sq ft.

- The current soil is sandy

- The area is in a 50 year floodplain

- The area is partially shaded by a border of understory trees (dogwoods, mostly) and a large, three-trunked 100+ yr River Birch

- We would love to use the area occasionally for soccer, playtime, etc. so whatever we plant needs to be OK with some foot traffic

- I do not want to irrigate, and in fact, it is too far from the house to water at planting time

Does anyone have a suggestion for a groundcover, wildflower, or grass that might fit the needs of this space?

Should I plant seeds now or wait for fall?

Many thanks for your ideas!

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Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima) is a good stabilizer for streamside and is very resilient to any damage. Native to the Atlanta area. You should be able to find some at the Georgia Native Plant Society sale April 24th in Marietta.

Here is a link that might be useful: GNPS sale

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:27AM
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gardenbench(zone 6 CT)

With a spot that large I would probably just plant it to grass. When my Dad needs an area covered and growing quickly he mixes rye seed in with the grass seed. The rye sprouts very fast and holds the soil and the grass sprouts up in it's own time. After sowing the seed be sure to mulch the area with straw or hay to help keep it moist. I believe, though I can't say for sure, that the rye is short lived, maybe a year or two, at which point the grass would be well established, but I'd do a little research first if you decide to go that route. Then if you want some natives you can plant them too and not have to worry about doing the whole patch at once.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 4:14PM
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