Green low profile groundcover.

Asked November 15, 2020, 4:17 PM EST

Just built a new home South of Monmouth on our farm. Front yard is too steep to mow with a riding mower so I terraced it. Flat parts will be grass. I want to plant the steep slopes with some kind of green vegetation I don't have to mow that will also serve as a fire break. Lot's of clay in soil as homesite is at the foot of a hill. Don't want to water much either as it's a big area. Slopes face North and Northwest. There is a patch of Ivy like stuff just across the road from my house. I think my brother in law said it was Vinka???? Apparently there was a house there decades ago and that stuff is still around. Seems to stay green. Suggestions?

Polk County Oregon

1 Response

I'd like to ask a few questions about your challenging site before making any recommendations. You say the slopes face North, NW - do they still receive plenty of sun, or are they mostly shady?
Are you able to irrigate for the first year or two to help plants get established?
Do you require a low groundcover, or would dense, low shrubs (say, up to 3 ft tall) work for you?
Is there deer pressure?

The plant you are seeing across the road may well be Vinca, or periwinkle, a common (non-native) groundcover. It is a possibility in a partly shady side, though it is not notably drought tolerant. The clay soil may actually be a benefit, since it holds moisture much longer than sandy soils. In full sun it is usually yellowish and stressed.