In The Grow

How to tame a slope

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Q: Behind my house I have about 3/4 acre that is on an incline of about 30 degrees and all sand. It is about 330 feet long and about 75 feet up the slope. I have had all the mulberry trees, bushes, vines, and poison ivy removed and would like to have some kind of cover crop. What would you suggest?

The slope is too steep to mow, so I have spent more than  300 hours the last two years trying to keep the weeds down by using a hand weed-whacker. More than 500 stumps, stubbles, and roots were removed, but some are trying to grow back.

I started this project two and a half years ago, and it has kept me plenty busy. I would like to grade the slope and put on a cover crop to keep the weeds down and also to help with sand erosion. Any suggestions would be appreciated. – F.A., Medaryville, Indiana

A: Slopes require plants that can establish quickly, tolerate fluctuating soil moisture and potentially poor nutrient availability, and require little care once established.

mixed planting for soil conservation

Mixed planting for soil conservation

Since you mentioned that your soil is sandy, you might consider one of the seed mixes that are designed for stabilizing dunes.

Some examples include https://www.cardnonativeplantnursery.com/docs/default-source/catalog/greatlakedunes121214.pdf?sfvrsn=6

and

http://www.spencenursery.com/seed_mixes/soil_stabilization_mix.php

Your local Soil and Water Conservation District office may also be able to provide guidance.

For more information on landscaping for stabilizing slopes, see the following article. https://www.purdue.edu/hla/sites/yardandgarden/plants-for-steep-slopes/

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Author: B. Rosie Lerner, rosie@purdue.edu
Editor: Charles Wineland, cwinelan@purdue.edu
Category: Extension, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
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