Ground Covers for Critical Slopes

Ground Covers for Critical Slopes

By Paul Schnare

Monday, June 2,2003 

Critical slopes are areas that are hard to mow because they are so steep.  Vegetation can be planted on these slopes in order to reduce erosion and mowing.

Some of the possible plants to be used are ivy, vinca minor, ground cover junipers, and crown vetch.  Crown vetch can be planted from seed.  Kill the existing vegetation by using a glyphosate product.  Then work up the soil as best you can, just like you would do for seeding a new lawn.  Spread crown vetch seed at the rate of one pound per 1000 square feet.  Work the seed into the soil.  Also apply a fertilizer, high in phosphorous, to the area.  Next it is best to cover the area with straw.  Hold the straw in place by using a erosion netting.  Finally, water the area just like you would when seeding a new lawn. 

To cover the area with ivy, vinca, or junipers, first kill the existing vegetation with glyphosate.  Then cover the area with 4” of mulch.  Next plant plants through the mulch into the soil below.  For ivy and vinca, it is best to plant on 6” centers.  Never plant farther apart that 2’centers.  The closer you plant your starts, the faster the plants will cover the area.  Plant ground cover junipers on 3’ to 5’ centers.  After planting, be sure to fertilize with a root stimulator fertilizer to encourage good root development.