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#405002 03/23/15 11:02 AM
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So I am working on clearing the backside of my dam that had been left to grow up for years and years prior to my purchasing my property. So I am working on clearing of all the trees, mostly small very few over 8" diameter. But the backside is to steep to mow, I wouldnt be comfortable trying to take my tractor up and down it perpindicular to the hill even though it would readily climb up it with front wheel assist. Any ideas on what to try and establish on a hill side like this that will choke brush out to keep it from taking over again and not require being mowed. The hill is facing south so getting sun wont be a problem.

My only thought so far was honey suckle, or morning glory or something similar...


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I've used crown vetch with pretty good results. I still have to prune back some brushy vegetation once or twice a year, but it is much less than I had to do before the crown vetch.


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Crown Vetch or some of the creeping varieties would be nice.



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my other thought was creeping myrtle. There was a steep hill side beside the driveway at my parents old house that was covered in it and I dont remember anything ever growing up thru it. But I dont know how hard it would be to establish since it was there when we moved there in the mid 80's and looked the same when we moved out in the 2007.

Last edited by BLUE72CAMARO; 03/23/15 02:39 PM.

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Crown vetch is very poor for erosion control. If you are OK with a little height (not a ground cover), then you could use amur silvergrass, but it is invasive and must be kept mowed at the perimeter to stop it from spreading by roots (check local laws on planting). Ours does not spread by seed, but it is a sod former and out-competes most things. A native prairie grass (or mix) could also work but it will need to be burned ever 3 years or so exposing the ground to erosion for a short time. In any case, old stumps will likely re-sprout unless you treated them with a herbicide like Tordon soon after cutting. Crown Vetch and myrtle are also considered invasive exotics. You must kill existing vegetation to get a good stand of most prairie grasses.

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I would think any bunch grass like prairie grass would create channels for water to go around the bunches. I have praire grass on the flats above my pond, but never thought it might be better than crown vetch as a steep bank cover...Is the amur silvergrass a bunch grass as well? The Crown Vetch does "lean" over at the end of the year, so I do have to rake out some of the dead areas each year. Might be an improvement to change it. My pond is totally contained by my driveway, so it would be easy to keep it in check.


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sod former - Crown vetch is considered an invasive exotic as well, and it spreads by seed and is hard to eradicate. I have been unsuccessful myself.

Last edited by RAH; 03/23/15 05:44 PM.
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I was successful by luck...my wife and I planted some sprigs of it 20 years ago and it spread around the pond. It is really beautiful and is contained by the driveway. I don't have any erosion problems even though the sides are 3:1. Sometimes it is so thick I have to thin it as I indicated in the last post. Once I figure out how to post pics, I will...I have a killer waterfall to post!


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I have been unsuccessful at eradicating crown vetch. It is insidious. I planted it back when it was recommended for erosion control, but they found the ground below the canopy was not really that well protected if water flows very fast. It does not lay down and protect the ground. It also is not phased by burning, so it is a real weed in a prairie restoration. The amur silvergrass is well controlled by glyphosate. I have it on a wetland dam that has a 12-12 slope and it works very well, but it burns like gasoline.

Last edited by RAH; 03/23/15 07:29 PM.
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The area I am going to plant on is mowed on all sides. the top of the dam is part of the yard and mowed weekly, the bottom side is clover, chickory, and alfalfa food plot for deer and gets mowed 3-4 times a year.


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I would be interested in hearing ideas as well as I have a very similar situation. The top of my dam is mowed regularly but the backside is too steep. I am removing all of the trees and some stubborn bushes on the backside of the dam and want to seed with something with enough root depth to provide significant protection from erosion.


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So creeping myrtle wont take the full sun light and crown vetch may not be a great solution being I absolutely can not mow this hill side. If I could mow it I wouldnt be cutting out thorn bushes and briars of every kind by hand right now.


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Not interested in the amur silvergrass? Too tall? Too invasive?

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Sorry RAH must have missed that post above, I would rather not have something quite that tall if I dont have to but that is definitely an option.

I have been using tordon on everything I cut I am also planning to burn as soon as I get the trees down to try and wipe out some of the brush hopefully...


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FWIW I asked a Horticulturist what to plant on the slopes of my N. Illinois pond that would be a good mix to control errosion and be low maintenance around a pond shoreline. I told him it needed to survive being under water from time to time.

He provided 75% Quest Tall Fescue, 10% Keystone II Perennial Rye, 10% Creeping Red Fescue and 5% Red Top

I just planted it late last fall so I cannot provide input on how well it works.

EDIT: I just noticed the label that came on the seed says "IDOT Class 1B Low Maintenance Grass Seed Mixture" so it must be a common mix used by Department of Transportation in problem areas.

Last edited by Bill D.; 03/26/15 07:16 AM. Reason: Clarification

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