The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover for Bank

Question: I have a fairly large bank behind my house that I would like to put some kind of ground cover on. It is very poor soil, mostly shale, and is in the sun all day. I know crown vetch would probaly work, but I was wondering if you had any other suggestions. Something with a flower would be nice. Also, because it is such a large area and very rocky, planting anything would be a difficult project. It would be nice if whatever I choose comes in a seed form. Thanks for your help!

Answer: I think crown vetch might be your best bet--and it does have flowers (lavender and pink flowers, from June until frost). Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (ph# 916-272-4769, web site: sells an seed mix called "Premium Erosion Mix", containing low-growing annual grasses, showy clovers, and 5% wildflowers. You could also try a regular wildflower mix--many will do well on relatively poor soils. Burpee carries a wildflower mix for the northeast, and a mix of perennial wildflowers.

As long as you have some soil over the shale, and the site isn't too dry, you should be able to get something established there. You will probably need to water the area in the first season, until the plants get established. Good luck!

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