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Ferne Reid
Posts: 122
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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... for a steep slope that drops from the neighbor's house above onto my land. The slope faces north, there are a few trees on the east side of it, and the erosion is significant. The slope ends in about 100 feet of flat land bordered by the strip of packed red clay I call my driveway. My storm shelter is built into the hill about 75 feet west of the vertical ditch that is the problem here.

The story I got from the neighbors is that when the last person who owned the full farm (before it was chunked up into pieces, one of which I now own) bought it, that whole side of the slope was covered in garbage. She apparently rented a dozer and just covered it all over. The neighbors said that it's generally safe to walk on, but to watch it since sometimes you hit a spot that's not all that solid.

All I want at this point is something to stop the erosion. Because of the landfill, I'm not planning on putting anything there that I would eat. Maybe sometime WAY down the road I will try to reclaim that land, but I have 21 other acres to work with and so it's at the very bottom of the priority list. I know how to build swales to redirect the water, but right now I don't want to put the time and effort into doing that. I just want to plant something there that will grow/spread fairly quickly and keep all that red clay where it belongs.

Suggestions?
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 363
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Bamboo? Willow? Both can spread pretty quickly in the right condition; bamboo has fairly shallow roots, and willow has much bigger, deeper roots. Do you have a local vine? Over here we have ivy, but I understand that is considered invasive in some places. sepp holzer uses lupin, I believe, for improving soil and stabilizing slopes, because of its deep roots.

Good luck! I hope you can find a good solution.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 389
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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Bamboo if you get plenty of water. If it's dry the bamboo won't grow much and you don't want to irrigate as this will increase erosion.

Hybrid poplars grow quick, have extensive roots, are very cheap, and perform phytoremediation on toxic land.
 
Ferne Reid
Posts: 122
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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I do want bamboo. Hadn't thought about putting it there, but I'll consider it.

We had a bunch of poplars at our old place. Frankly it's not my favorite tree, but if it can help to remediate that area it might not be a bad idea. I'm thinking they'll probably be about ready to go by the time I get around to doing something with that space.

Thanks!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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That is why they imported kudzu in the first place... Be careful not to make a bigger problem.

Low light, fibrous root, likes clay, hmmm.

I am going to say shotgun approach. Plant everything you can afford that is suggested here plus a few cover crops with roots and see what sticks.

You will also need to fix the biology to get things to grow, so scatter some living compost on top and spray compost tea whenever you can.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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reading this thread reminds me of kudzu
i think until you can come up with something established like perennial crops suggested I would get a lot of seeds of some cover crops and toss those out there just to have something holding down the soil.
 
Ferne Reid
Posts: 122
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards the poplars. Two or three should do it, and I'll put some chickens to work over there. I can toss some seed around when I move the chickens off. That's about as much work as I want to put into that space right now ... effort needs to be concentrated in areas that can be productive right off the bat. I just don't want the neighbor's garage in my driveway.
 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 264
Location: S. Ontario Canada
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Isn't vetch used to stabilize soils? Pretty sure that's what I see planted on steep highway cuts.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2577
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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How about throwing a hundred varieties of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees at the area. See if anything thrives. Something is already growing there.... How about planting more of that?
 
Ferne Reid
Posts: 122
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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There is some grass and clover growing there, but it's not enough to hold onto the soil. There is essentially a vertical ditch running from the top of the slope to the bottom, with a few more starting in various places. We need something way bigger.

My neighbor's garage and driveway are at the top of that slope. If we don't do something now, we could end up with a new garage in a few years.
 
Rick English
pollinator
Posts: 264
Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
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I also have two north facing slopes. By the road, the steeper slope has a colony of tiger lilies and trees. I also planted iris which are doing well. Both the tiger lilies and iris have rhizome type roots and spread readily. They don't like wet feet, so they work well on a slope and will flower in the partial shade.

On my more gradual slope, I planted a few wildflower seed mixes. They also like the slope, but require a tad more sun. This is also a much quicker solution, because if the seed mix has both annual and perennial varieties, you will have ground cover in a few weeks/month.
 
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