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Tuesday - November 24, 2009

From: Chatham, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for New York sloped area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for native ground covers (vines?) for steep, heavy shale sloped areas as well as a ground cover in gently sloped area, preferably not higher than 6 inches. All that I've found is non-native to this area. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Here are some low-growing woody plants native to your area that would make a good ground cover under the conditions you describe.  I don't, however, know what your amount of sunight is.  You will need to check the "Growing Conditions" given for each species against the conditions at your site.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Rubus pubescens (dwarf red blackberry) and more information with photos

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Empetrum nigrum (black crowberry)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)

Grasses and/or sedges would also work well on slopes and are very effective in controlling erosion since their fibrous root systems hold the soil very well.  Their drawback, however, is that most are taller than 6 inches.  Here are a few of the shorter ones you might consider:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

 

 

 

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