Ground Cover For Sloped Areas
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Shannon Connolly
Posted on: February 10, 2005

I have a terraced yard with a 75 foot (22.5 meters) long sloped area in my yard that is approx. 5 feet (1.5 meters) high. It is very good soil and gets full sun. I want to plant on it for appearance, fragrance and culinary use. I was considering strawberries and also some mints. I would also consider a completely different use such as marjoram, rosemary, red clover, etc. I just don’t want to mix the two because of the difference in fragrances. I would love to have your input. I have other slopes not quite as high that run even longer.

Any of the herbs you suggested sound fine, except that the mint would eventually form a monoculture on your slope and if you want it there be sure to confine it in something like a garbage can with the bottom cut out for drainage and then buried in the spot where you want the mint, leaving 2 inches (5 cm) of the rim sticking out of the soil. Red clover also tends to spread even if not as aggressively as mint. As I mentioned in similar answers, terracing the slope, will give you much more choice in what you can grow and there is less chance of the soil washing away in the next downpour.

What would you do with it? How many plug packs will I need per square foot? I live in western Oregon, USA with mild weather...

The number of plants per square foot depends on the eventual size of the plant and how dense you want your planting to be. For most smallish plants it is recommended that they be planted on 6 inch (15 cm) centres, which works out to 4 per square foot. If you live in at least zone 7 (for Arp rosemary) or zone 8 for all other rosemaries you would have to plant rosemaries quite far apart, say about 3 feet (1m) to have them come into their own. In colder zones they become annuals!

Do check our web-site for further suggestions at under the "Q&A" heading in the "News & Info" section of the site. Click on "Search Question & Answers" and type in"ground cover", to find the topics that sound as if they would answer your question.

Seeding rates for selected herbs can be found in the Commercial section under Pro-Growers Info.

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