Large steep sunny slope with deer

Asked July 9, 2018, 4:29 PM EDT

We live in Oregon City and have a large, steep slope that gets full sun. It's irrigated so we can water new plants until they get a firm hold. We've made several expensive mistakes, trying to cover the slope with ground covers. The first one was ajuga, which is supposed to be deer resistant. Yes, but it doesn't prevent them from pulling new plants out, tasting them, and spitting the remains on the ground to die. Planted Point Reyes Ceanothus, but it doesn't even slow down the propagation of grass and weeds. I'd love to roll sheets of ground cloth down the hill and cut holes for the plants, but many of the plants that have been recommended grow by underground spreading -- like hypericum. We're willing to pay for consulting, if someone can recommend a fast-growing ground cover that will choke out the weeds and grass, and is compatible with the ground cloth (unless we're advised not to, with reasons why). Thank you for your help!

Clackamas County Oregon groundcovers deer resistant plants horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for your question. It really has at least 3 parts: deer resistancy, location appropriate and use of a ground cloth. You are correct in surmising that hiring a landscape designer, but Extension offices don’t perform that function. Deer resistancy: Although OSU has such a list, it is for Central Oregon and includes invasive species (https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/techniques/deer-resistant-plants-central-oregon) Rutgers has a similar list worth perusing: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/deer-resistant-plants/ The sunny slope has benefits. Metro has a great native plant publication with sun and water requirements: https://www.oregonmetro.gov/native-plants-willamette-valley-yards-booklet Finally, as to ground cloths: you couldn’t pay me to use them (again) and this article explains why: https://extension.psu.edu/putting-an-end-to-my-landscape-fabric-nightmare Challenging landscaping situations require research, knowledge and forethought. Hopefully, this information provides you with some of each. Good luck!