Monday, August 22, 2011

What to Plant on Slopes?

      What can I plant on slopes?  Specifically, what can I plant in the livestock loading chute and on the slopes to either side?
Loading Chute
      This is what the loading chute looks like now.  You're supposed to back your pickup truck up to the higher (left) end, then run the critter from the holding pen up the dirt ramp between the wooden fences, and into the back of said pickup.  It's been, oh, twenty years since this was last done here.  The weeds have taken over.  Now my spouse is having fantasies about getting some livestock.  So whatever I use must be able to survive foot traffic.
Day lilies
  Day lilies would be pretty as long as we don't actually use the loading chute.  I can imagine what they would look like after a struggle to load a recalcitrant bull.  They'd recover, but in the meantime, wouldn't look so nice.  They might make for slippery footing too.  That can be a problem when you're dealing with a large, angry or scared animal. I think I'll leave them to the ditch for now.
Water feature closeup.  Sedum and evergreens.

       A rock garden on either side of the chute would look really great!  This is a close-up of part of the waterfall hill beside our front porch.  Sedum and evergreens are an attractive combination here.
       But when you're working with animals, you don't have the luxury of watching where you put your feet every second.  A turned ankle when dealing with a skittish animal could ruin your day.
Sweet potato vines

      Sweet potato vines?  They might survive being trampled, but getting the critter to move into the truck could be a serious problem.  Creatures might take exception to being told to MOVE if they'd rather stop to eat this tasty stuff. 
     Somewhere around here there's a photo of the six foot slope along the side of the driveway leading to the garage, which is located under the house.  This used to be an erosion nightmare or a ragged mess of weeds, depending on which section you viewed.  Now it's covered with periwinkle.  This is a really solid erosion control.  It looks really good.  It's easy to propagate.  So why not use it around the loading chute?  Many people consider this plant to be invasive.  Since it does spread so readily and it's not indigenous to this area, I hesitate to put it where it could so easily get out of control. 
       Creeping thyme would work, I think, but I plan to use it in so many other places, that I feel that putting it here would be overusing it.
Wild strawberry and common cinque-foil.

       This might be my best bet.  Both wild strawberries and common cinque-foil are low and lush, fast growing and hardy, and native to this area. I asked my husband what he thought of this choice.  He considered for a second, then said wonderingly, "Why didn't I think of that?"  I guess that means he thinks it's the perfect solution.
      What it means to me is more dead grass.  I have to kill what's there before I can replace it. I think I can "borrow" from the evergreen garden as the strawberries and cinque-foil there take root and spread.   

1 comment:

  1. I guess I would try to plant something edible though I am not sure anything would really stand up to livestock walking on it.