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Ground cover planting on banks

Although a some what out of fashion with the introduction of ground sheeting and mulching to suppress weeds ground cover planting still as useful technique to prevent weeds and stabilizes soil on banks and slopes.

On banks and borders that are difficult to maintain and to steep to use mulching, planting with such plants as hypericum calycinum and vinca varieties can provide an ideal solution. Both hypericum and vincas form a solid mat with underground stems that hold the soil together to prevent slippage and controlling most weeds after the planting has established.

To establish ground cover planting it is always worth the effort to eradicate the existing weed by allowing a period of inactivity after the initial weeding or weed killing to allow any persistent weeds to reappear. Once you are happy that the perennial weeds have been eradicated then you can consider planting the ground cover plant. The method the GardenAdvice team us is to use plants in smaller pots that you would normally find on a garden centre which are typically 2-4 litre, the ideal size being 0.5 -1 litre. By using smaller pots it is possible to use 3 to 4 per squire metre and establish the carpeting effect in shorter period of time.

Establishing the growth in the first 12 months is the key to effective ground cover planting. You must maintain a well-watered and well feed bed free from weeds to allow the rapid establishment of the plants. The simplest method is to use a ground sheet pegged to the bank or slope before you start planting and then simply cut crosses in it and plant through with the new plants. Disadvantages with the use of ground sheeting are that because of the slope of the bank you cannot easily use mulching to cover the not very esthetic sheeting and must wait until it is covered by the plants which could take up to 3 years.

Speeding up the establishment of the plants can be achieved by the use of liquid feeds and drip irrigation. Because the plants are trying to grow on a bank the most difficult problem they face is the lack of water especially if the bank is under a tree or other overhanging structure.







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