The Q&A Archives: Plantings for a REALLY steep bank

Question: Category: Garden Planning

My 1873 farmhouse's front yard ends in a steep bank down to the road. It ranges from about a 45 degree slope to damn near vertical, and is full sun, due west exposure, with lots of wind. I would like to plant something that will control erosion, not need a lot of weeding, watering, or other care (I work an average of 60 hours a week and usually get home for the day around 3 AM), and yet not be so prolific as to preclude a change sometime in the future. I have ruled out evergreens dessicating
winds), daylilies (they grow wild all over the place; I'd like something a little more unique), things like Apios and hay-scented ferns (unbudgeable once established), and most perennial and especially annual flowers (more care than I could likely provide, plus digging lots of holes in a steep bank could cause erosion headaches). Oh, yes, this bank also gets slathered in sand and salt everywinter, not to mention all the snow pushed over from a nearby intersection. I have heard about a fragrant sumac that intrigues me--can it take these conditions, and can you describe what it kinda sorta smells like? (Sweetgrass, Sweet Annie, Lantana-like, etc) My other idea was to plant an assortment of mints and let them take the bank

Answer: Fragrant sumac is an excellent choice although you will still have to dig some holes. The standard species (Rhus aromatica) grows about five feet tall and will spread to six or eight feet. There is also a dwarf variety called Gro-Lo which

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