We get a lot of requests for slope plantings and how to manage soil erosion in landscaped areas. Erosion can be mitigated with plantings of various types of material with differing rooting depths and structures. Ideally a mix of trees, shrubs and ground covers will grow in to stabilize soils on slopes.

Renovations to replace aging plant material on slopes offers an opportunity to update the plant palette and conserve resources in the long run. This opportunity has been exacerbated by the decline of two common slope plantings in San Diego, Acacia redolens and red apple Aptenia.

Acacia redolens, planted widely in the 1980’s and 90’s has reached the end of its useful life, sprialing downward in health and promoting a fire hazard with its copious amounts dead and woody undergrowth. Downy mildew is affecting many established plantings of red apple Aptenia, a commonly used mass ground cover for common area slopes in homeowner associations.

A great plant for these applications is Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’. This Grevillea is a sprawling, mounding, evergreen ground cover with masses of beautiful green needle-like foliage showing off apricot-orange blooms in spring-summer. It is low water use and needs virtually zero maintenance if given enough room to sprawl. No pruning, low water, stunning flowers, slope stabilization, grows densely to smother weeds and it attracts hummingbirds too!