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Dry slope - need advice

Posted by auburn-nh (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 11, 08 at 12:43

Hello all, this is my first post here.

I am hoping to hear from people who have planted white clover as a ground cover on slopes.

This slope I have is steep and can't be mowed.

It receives sun from late morning until mid afternoon, about 7 hours. It's got a mix of young and adult oak and pine trees, about two dozen trees, I'd say.

Can't build terraces because of the massive root systems those trees have and there are a lot of large rocks also.

Melting snow and spring showers help keep the slope moist through early June. After that, it stays on the dry side. Regular watering is not an option, I'm afraid.

In the past six years I've tried sedum, mint, thyme, ajuga, goldenrod, phlox, and other similar species. Of these plants, only the ones that grow towards the foot of the slope have managed to survive (though they haven't spread much at all).

Unfortunately, this slope is a very prominent (along our driveway) eyesore.

So, my question is: Will white clover grow in these conditions?

If so, when should I seed and how much seed should I use per sq ft?

Also, will I need to add anything to the soil, considering the established oak and pine trees?

Many thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dry slope - need advice

I can't tell where you're from, but on the plains I'd recommend for you to try native plants....buffalo or bluegramma grass, or other native grasses. you probably have similar things in whatever area you are. My experience with clover is that it needs regular water to look decent.

RE: Dry slope - need advice

The reason for the little success you've had is because what water the slope gets accumulates at the base, gravity at work. So, make several bases at intervals on the slope, i.e. terracing. This should increase your success rate.

RE: Dry slope - need advice

I live in southern Ontario, not exactly a drought-prone area, except in mid-summer. I found that planting on a slope is not impossible, but it is difficult to get plants established and growing. Any water one puts on them as young plants tends to immediately run off down the hill. However once they are established for a couple of years, they do fine without supplemental water. You may have better success starting a new planting in the fall, so the plants can get rooted well before the summer heat starts. Native plants are a good idea, either perennials or grasses or a combination of both.

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