Don't know if this is the right place on the forum to post this, but it does involve the part of the property where the lawn now ends.
I am off to the nursery to look today and wanted to know any thoughts on what kind of grass, plants, berry bushes, shrubs and so forth should be planted on a southern facing slope in zone 6 in New York. This has to be an almost no maintenance project.
We have about 40 foot in length to work with and it is about 10 foot of steep slope. It is anchored at the top ends by two 40 year old Japanese Maples which are starting to have exposed roots on the slope side. It has gotten steeper over the years. I used to have grass on it and had the mower roll down the hill, fall down myself and gave up years ago and let the weeds fill it in. Before the weeds, we tried Junipers and they didn't work. Last year we cleared off half of it and tried English Ivy and that failed. It is too hard to weed because of the steepness of the slope. Last weekend we cut everything off of it including the Sumac trees that were about 5 feet tall. We are looking to do a maintenance free area because it is really not visible from the house or back lawn. We also need something that grows quickly and possibly has the ability to spread.
The bottom of the slope is level with about 5 feet to another drop off into the woods. We think it would be a good idea to plant something for the birds and possibly the Deer in winter, but we do need to stabilize the slope as the back yard is small to begin with and we don't need the house falling off into it in 20 years. Total lot size is a little over a quarter acre.
Paul, do you have any suggestions as to bushes and trees? I would like low trees if that would work
I had in mind Berry Bushes such as blueberry and High Bush Cranberry. Possibly a small sized fruit tree like Crabapple or any other trees you could recommend. In 40' x10' of steep slope how many trees and bushes would do the job of controlling further erosion. I know it depends on the size of the plant I am starting with. A suggestion for size would help also.
Zone 6 is where we are in upstate NY.
Naturally, I want plants that would be compatible with each other, and low maintenance is the operative word.
Location: New York
posted 9 years ago
I sent an email to St Lawrence Nurseries over the weekend and just read their response. It is posted below. Do you agree with these suggestions?
Hi, Al. Yes, we are past the deadline for shipping for this Spring, but as far as your slope is concerned, you want something that has a deep and fast-holding root system, and you probably also want to avoid tilling up that area too much, since it would be quite prone to erosion. I know that along roadsides they use crown vetch (probably the garden variety of vetch would work) as a natural soil holder on slopes. You might try planting some Serviceberry and American Highbush cranberry on the slope here and there. Blackhaw and chokeberry might also provide some food and habitat for wildlife. These plants generally do well even in non-ideal sites. Horticordially, XXXXXXXXXXXX St Lawrence Nurseries
Just got back from the nursery and picked up Chokeberry, Regent Serviceberry, Blackhaw, and lowbush Blueberry. 9 bushes in total and we will look into getting the trees as well. Just want to plant these first and see how things are spaced. I was thinking of planting annual Ryegrass to keep the weeds and erosion in check for the first couple of years until it all starts to fill in. i found the Crown Vetch for $21.95 for more seed than I can use, but because of the invasiveness I am still tossing around the idea. I'd much rather use the Ryegrass because of the die off in the winter. Any other suggestions?
Location: New York
posted 9 years ago
paul wheaton wrote: I agree with the St, Lawrence folks.
Crown vetch seed can be hard to find and when you do find it, it can be really expensive. I think crown vetch can be good, but I think trees and bushes will be better.
I think you should take these questions to permaculture forum. At the bottom of the page, you will see a book called "gaia's garden" - you'll want to get that book.
Thank you again, Paul. I just ordered the book. Hope you get the credit.