Steep hills in yards have always been an issue, grass may appear to be the way to go. However, anyone who has mowed the lawn on a slope knows it isn’t easy and it could be hazardous. Then there are those slopes where anything doesn’t seem to be growing, they can unattractive and a danger to erosion control. Hillside plants can be the answer to the problem.
You can have the appropriate ground cover for a slope in your yard. Hillside ground covers may be in the form of thick shrubs with deep roots for a woodland look to quick-growing ground covers for a sunlit hill. When picking a ground cover for a slope, you have to use the same standards as you do for flat land: maintenance, sun, and water.
The list below can assist you in picking the right ground cover for a slope. For more suggestions, reach out to a Rochester tree care company.
Ground Cover Plants for a Hillside
Vinca Minor/Periwinkle – an evergreen with purple/blue flowers. This is one of the top ground covers for slopes. Thick enough to control weeds, but loose enough to intermingle with crocus and daffodils.
English Ivy – A well-known steep hill ground cover, this vine establishes wherever it touches. Slow to begin, once formed, it swiftly covers the ground and takes out the weeds.
Dead Nettle – a quick-growing ground cover for a shady bank or sunny hills. When this white and green beauty is planted, it will flourish under even most unfavorable conditions.
Shrubs for Steep Hill Ground Cover
Roses – many low spreading types out there as well as ever-blooming shrub roses. Practically pest free and low maintenance, roses can be a serious color statement when put together and should be thought of as quick-growing ground covers for sunny slopes regardless if you want erosion or aesthetic appeal.
Bearberry – a northwest native, bearberry can be seen in numerous garden and home centers around the nation. It’s a low-spreading evergreen with white-pink flowers and red berries that are favorites with birds.
Euonymus – many prostrate varieties that are the correct ground cover for a hill. Colors go from golden to deep green, and their runners take hold wherever they hit the soil. These amazing shrubs can handle shade too.
Trees make lovely focal points in any landscape. Though, the ground surrounding their trunks can frequently be an issue. Grass may have a difficult time thriving around roots, and the shade a tree provides can deter even the strongest of flowers. Instead of having the area around your tree bare, why not put on a nice-looking ground cover?
These plants flourish on neglect, needing a lesser amount of sunlight and water than most other plants. Encircle your trees with an excellent ground cover, and you’ll give your outdoor space a finished, professional appearance.
Ground Cover Plants
Pick your ground cover plants based on the trees around which they’ll exist. Some trees, such as the Norway maple, have thick coverage and allow practically no sunlight. Others have thinner branches and tinier leaves, providing you with more choice to pick from. Find out how big each tree type will ultimately grow to decide how many plants you will require to have to cover the whole space circling the tree.
Some of the best ground covers to have under trees are Periwinkle, Liriope and monkey grass, wild violets, Ajuga, Lungwort, Foamflower, Creeping juniper, and Pachysandra.
Ground Cover Planting
Like other parts of your outdoor space, putting ground covers under a tree begins with prepping the planting area. Ground covers can be planted any time in any month. But, later in the fall and early in the springtime are recommended by Rochester arborists.
Put a circle around the grass at the bottom of the tree to signify the size of your proposed bed. Put a hose on the ground to show the size of the bed or stain the grass with paint. Plow the soil inside the circle and get rid of all the weeds and grass. Use a trowel to plow individual holes for putting the ground cover plants.
Put fertilizer in each hole before putting in the plant.
Leave plenty of room around the plant to let them grow freely. Put a layer of eco-green mulch or bark in between the plants to help keep the moisture and to shade out any rising roots. Water the plants every week until they grow and take hold.
The best time to prune roots is in the late winter when they’re dormant. Pruning during the dormant season is ideal since:
Is Root Pruning Trees and Shrubs a Viable Option?
When a tree is dug for transplanting, typically the part of the roots taken, the root ball, is only the perimeter of the drip line, at times even less. Since the shrub or tree is relying on the root ball for most of its water and nutrients, it requires lots of feeder roots to continue to maintain itself during the jolt of being uprooted.
To boost the development of feeder roots nearer to the drip line, root pruning, slicing off the long anchor roots, is performed.
How to Root Prune
Root pruning entails cutting the roots (at the drip line) entirely around the entire tree's circumference. This can be performed by slicing downward all around with a sharp spade.
The bigger the remaining root ball, the more feeder roots you will have and the better likelihood the shrub or tree will successfully transplant. On the other hand, big root balls are quite heavy. This is never a project for one person. For huge trees, you might need to call in a tree care expert.
Root pruning is also helpful when potted plants have grown bigger than their container, and you don’t want to transport them to a larger one. Pruning the roots back and repotting with some new soil will keep your plants’ development in on point.
Are you planning a landscaping or construction project shortly? Before any work starts, be sure to decide how you’ll protect the trees in your outdoor space. Heavy material and equipment can compact the soil, diminishing the capability of small roots to absorb water, air, and nutrients. If too much of the roots are crushed, a tree becomes unstable and dies.
Follow these procedures for protecting your tree if there is construction on your property:
Before construction, put an orange construction or silt fence around the root zone.
What is the root zone? It's the part of the root system that is most vital to the survival of a tree. It extends typically one foot from the trunk for every inch of trunk diameter.
If you can't avoid carrying materials over the root zone, apply a layer of wood mulch over the root system. Also, build a temporary ramp to distribute the weight and lessen the impact on the roots and soil.
Avoid transporting machinery over wet soil. Instead, do the project when the ground is frozen or dry.
Store soil, equipment, and other bulky items away from tree trunks and outside the root zone.
Healing the Damage
If the damage is unavoidable, water the lasting part of the root system to aid the tree in recovering. Water throughout and after the construction job, maintaining moist soil. Be sure not to flood the ground.
Applying a layer of mulch over the root system is another way to aid the tree in recovering. A Rochester arborist can advise replacing or repairing tree damage.
The Hidden Killer: Soil Compaction
Soil compaction is the leading cause of death to trees. A lot of that destruction occurs during construction as traffic and equipment damages delicate roots in the top of the soil.
The time to safeguard your trees is before you build your dream house or start your home remodeling project.
You realize your trees offer beauty, enhance the environment, and increase your property value. The last thing you want to happen is for your trees to die. Taking preventive measures can stop that from happening.
Rochester Tree Service wants to help you care for the trees on your property. Trees are valuable resources and we want to provide interesting information to you!