Vegetation for Bare Cliff - Knowledgebase Question

Woodbury, VT
Question by margiswett
January 20, 2001
In renovating our house the contractor left a bare, steep, rocky cliff. It's only 14 feet high but ugly and already eroding badly. We thought of English Ivy on a staked netting, but in in northeastern Vermont we don't know if it would live. To complicate matters even more the cliff is on the north side of our tall house, which is surrounded by a mountain and many trees, so sun is scant. Is there anything that might grow there?


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Answer from NGA
January 20, 2001

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A self clinging vine such as English ivy (Hedera helix) would be able to climb rock without any extra support. However, a more cold hardy plant to consider is Virginia Creeper, (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). This vine is deciduous but it turns a beautiful red in the fall. It would also be able to cling to the rock without additional support.

Since the cliff is eroding badly, I would strongly suggest you consult with an engineer or other professional grading expert to make sure that it is safe as it is, and possibly to suggest an alternative direction/control pattern for the runoff.

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