natural Groundcover

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Fran wrote:

Hmm. I have some my mom planted on a steep hill and she also made up some nice big flower pots and the English Ivy found its way in a nearby crack between the walk and the slab the house is on. The stuff she planted on a hill could get out of control one day when I'm not looking, should I kill it all while I can?
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Tony wrote:

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is it growing on trees or the house?
if not, i'd leave it alone, killing it off would mean possible soil erosion problems on the hillside, weeds getting established, etc.
if you want to try other plants there clear an area and plant them and see if they can manage the soil/location. if they fight it out with the ivy and win i'd say you're replacing one problem with another. :) get my drift?
i.e. why fix what isn't broken unless you have other goals for that area?
songbird
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songbird wrote:

This takes a bit to explain but I'll try. The first owner of the house didn't want to pay for any more excavation than necassary, so the hill/mountian side came at an angle to within 3 feet of the rear of the house. The 2nd owners had that bulldozed so there could be a flat area, a lawn and whatnot behind the house. Two years after excavation hardly a weed grew in the heavy clay. The new steeper hillside had big ruts from getting washed out. The flat area for a lawn was still all clay. I moved here and first worked on the steep slope that was getting washed out, I kept taking rotting trees and branches from the woods and throwing it on the clay hillside. What ever grew I let it stay. Over the years I kept throwing more dead and rotting trees and branches on it. 5 years later it's mostly green, but lots of weeds, but also many pine and other trees. The pines are so numerous I let most of them get 5' tall then cut them down if I don't want to keep them, I'm just keeping a few pines there. I let them grow first to let their roots hold the soil, and eventually rot and help amend the heavy clay soil. The area is about 15 feet uphill and 70' wide. I've cut down close to 100 pines already from 3 to 6 feet tall, they grow like weeds. Actually it is all mostly weeds, anything to hold the soil in place. In another year or so I will start working around the better trees I want to stay and things I planted like mountain laurel and some hardwood trees that grew naturally. Well if you got this far, behind all this up on the hill starts the woods. So if it got out of control there is could be a problem becasue I only own so many feet back.
So after all that, I could start digging up English Ivy without doing much damage to the hill. It's probably clay underneath so I could just throw in some more dead rotting logs and it doesn't take long for something natural to grow up right next to the rotting logs. For now almost anything goes but soon I will begin to focus on a plan and get selective about what I leave grow. It's way to big and steep for a tidy garden, more like leave nature do it's job and try to keep cutting or digging up what I don't want.
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Tony wrote:

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sounds pretty nice for what you started with. :)
which direction does it face and how much rain do you get in mid summer?

*nods* the trouble i see coming is that the pines tend to challenge almost anything underneath them with the pine needles they drop. even on a slope because you have it somewhat under control.

oh, ok, so you don't have english ivy growing there at present. :) gotcha.
i like the creeping phloxes, but i'm not sure how they would do when clay gets rock hard in the summer. it might be fine on your slope because of the organic matter already incorporated which would hold moisture and cool off the surface. i like that they don't grow "up" things.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Thanks, I figured I couldn't go wrong with free rotting wood! By the way the hillside and the flat part didn't have a single worm anywhere. They are now increasing every year.

It faces south. Gets a lot of sun from mid morning until 5 or 6 when a mountain blocks the sun, then sometimes another hour of sun between 2 mountains. Rain is really sporadic. I would guess .5"/week from June to september, maybe less. Depends on where the thunderstorms hit.

OK, I suppose then I shouldn't be cutting up the pines and leaving the branches with the needles on the hillside? I have other places I can spread them out. I have some live older pines scattered here and there, mostly a bare long 70 foot trunk with some green at the top where it pokes through the other trees. There are areas in the woods where you get a solid pine forest but not too large. Some kind of bugs killed most of the pine forests just before I moved here. I haven't hiked it again to see the progress it has made in 4 years.

No, I do have it growing at various places on the hill. My Mom had been planting it to help hold the soil from washing out.

I'm still in between stages, the original subject line doesn't have much to do with *this* thread which was about removing the English Ivy. My goal is to keep amending the soil and thinning out all the new trees so they aren't competing with each other. Then as they grow taller, I will continue to thin them out. I'm not ready to start planting anything yet, in another year or 2 or 3. Then it will hopefully be mostly shady with the trees all around.
Tony
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Once it gets going, it's a royal aitch to deal with. This stuff was growing up the walls of the house, the trees, and on up the hill into neighbors yards three houses down. While it is slower than kudzu, it is just as invasive, in the end. If you're not willing to control it, I'd remove it.
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