The Q&A Archives: Soil Erosion And Lavender

Question: We are building a new house and I would like to plant some lavender, planning on it spreading to cover a 30 foot by 20 foot area. Unfortunately, this area is a shallow hillside. While the lavender grows in and spreads what should we use to keep the soil in place - we would like to avoid grass unless there is one that will give way to the lavender? also, what type of soil do you suggest?

Answer: Lavender grows best in full sun on a well drained soil that is near neutral in pH and not overly fertile. The hill should help provide good drainage unless the soil is very heavy. Your plan is an interesting one, but you should be aware that lavender is a shrubby plant and does not fill in from the roots. For this reason, it will need to be mulched in order to keep down weeds and grass and to help control erosion. It also does best and stays healthiest when it is harvested regularly and pruned back. This needs to be done in late spring to remove any winter killed branch tips and again after each flowering. The pruning will reduce its size periodically so that it will not always be at peak coverage. In some years, after a hard winter, you may find that the plants look poorly until June, so keep this in mind too while planning the location for this extensive planting.

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