The Q&A Archives: Poor Soil, Shady, Erosion Help!

Question: I would appreciate any recommendations for a shady, dry, poor soil, banked area approximately 800 sq. ft. Can be muddy a times and then dry. I llke ferns and thought Periwinkle would work well.
Should take care of the following.
Year round ground cover
Low or no maintenance
Shrubs can be included
Poor soil
Deer resistent
New York State 90 miles North of New York City
Any Suggestions?
Thank you for your time.
Peter Stephan

Answer: The periwinkle or Vinca minor is an evergreen, once established it will tolerate somewhat dry soil as long as it is shady, and it is deer resistant so that might actually be your best choice. (Most ferns require an evenly damp soil and most are deciduous.) During the establishment period, you will need to water the new plants. Using an organic mulch in between them will help keep weeds down while you wait for them to grow and fill in, it will also help keep the soil more evenly moist, and will help feed the soil slowly over time as it breaks down. Your local county extension and/or professionally trained nurseryman may have other suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions on the bank as well as your overall design goals. Good luck with your groundcover!

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