How To Plant A Hillside? - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA
Question by fivephils
January 13, 2001
Please help us with planning and preparation for a south facing hillside with existing large eucalyptus trees and iceplant. We would like to know which plants to have that will stand up to two dogs and three kids and yet look great and be low maintenance and give fabulous color. We live in Southern California and the hillside has a srinkler system but now drip system. The hillside is fairly steep and the soil is in terrible condition. How do we prep and plant please?
Thank you


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Answer from NGA
January 13, 2001

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Hillsides generally offer a less hospitable environment for plants than do level gardens. Soil is usually shallow and poor, and it's hard to get water to penetrate deeply enough to promote strong, dense roots. You can amend the top 8" of the hillside with compost or other organic matter prior to installing new plants, but given the existing plants in the area, you may decide against disturbing their established root systems. The following suggestions are for plants that will provide attractive cover for slopes and help prevent soil erosion: Rosa rugosa, creeping rosemary, ivy, Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), Star Jasmine, and Malephora (Ice Plant).

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