Landscaping on hillsides and slopes is a common landscaping problem. The best solution is to use groundcovers, hardy shrubs and ornamental grasses. The plants chosen for slopes should not only have an aesthetic value but also need to be highly tolerant of variations in temperatures and soil types. Conifers and low-maintenance evergreen shrubs are good choices, since their foliage remains consistent throughout the year.
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Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) is a hardy, spreading shrub that reaches a mature height of 5 to 6 feet. Japanese yew is an evergreen with needle-shaped leaves and feathery appearance. The shrub bears inconspicuous flowers and bright red, inedible berries and is generally free of pests. The plant is low maintenance and can be planted nearly anywhere in the landscape including slopes. The shrubs grow well in sun or partial shade. Water Japanese yew three times a week for the first year and later with 2 ½ inches of water twice weekly. There is no pruning necessary when growing on hillsides.
Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) is a low-maintenance evergreen shrub that is well tolerant of poor soils. The shrub grows 6 to 12 inches in height with horizontally spreading branches that grow 1 foot every year to 5 feet or more. Creeping juniper is drought resistant and is an ideal shrub from areas receiving full sun. It is used frequently for reducing erosion on dry slopes and does very well in sandy soil. The foliage is deep green or deep blue depending on variety, and turns plum in winter. Creeping juniper grows best in a soil pH of 5.0 or 6.0 but is also tolerant of slight alkalinity. On slopes plant 3 feet apart and water new plants every week or two for the first season.
Dwarf Burning Bush
Dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is a commonly used, hardy shrub in commercial landscapes and slopes. The shrub is a member of the bittersweet family that has both deciduous and evergreen shrubs, vines and trees. Dwarf burning bush is slow growing with outreaching branches and a bright show of colour during winter, when all the leaves turn rosy crimson before falling off. The shrub reaches a mature height of 8 to 10 feet and grows very well on rocky, dry slopes. Dwarf burning bush is tolerant of all soils except swampy. Water once every two weeks for the first year and apply mulch. The shrub looks best when it develops naturally.
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