Eroding Front Slope
Hello, and thanks in advance for your expertise. I'm hoping you can recommend a solution to our eroding slope (photos included). The previous owners pulled much of the English Ivy that protected the slope, and only 50% periwinkle remains. While we understand it's invasive, we've tried without success to help the periwinkle spread to protect against run-off, particularly since we are in a watershed community. We transplanted grasses (from a neighbor) that we hoped would spread, though they're slow to grow after a couple years, but they are surviving. We're under mostly shade from oak trees, with more sun in the winter when the leaves are gone. Can you suggest a native plant or landscaping solution to our steep, eroding front slope? Thank you!
Montgomery County Maryland
It takes a year or more for groundcovers to fill in an area in the best of circumstances. This year, Maryland is having record-breaking drought. Drought slows growth. Also, on any steep slope, rainfall runs off and does not soak into soil, so that they are often too dry for optimal growth to occur. Your plants are also contending with the roots of shade trees which wlll out-compete them for moisture.
So, it's a challenge for your plants. They look very healthy, considering.
We'd recommend that you take several steps.
Slow run-off by installing more terracing. This can be temporary or permanent. Landscape timbers, or just branches for a natural look, placed horizontally, can always be removed later if you like. More rows of stones, or just random attractive stones, like the ones you have would help.
You can also try "sticky straw". This product is chopped straw with a gluey substance added, so that it does not wash away. An example is EZStraw with Tack. You could lightly cover it with mulch if you prefer that look. This straw, like the straw often spread on a newly seeded lawn, will slowly decompose and feed the soil. Any organic material will help hold water better.
To keep the slope moist, use soaker hoses. These can be hidden under mulch or straw.
You might want to use some nice native ferns that spread by rhizomes to mix it up, such as hay-scented fern. Christmas fern is also evergreen.
Thank you very much for sharing these potential solutions/remediation options. We will consider some simple, additional terracing, and I'll be looking into sticky straw.