Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yard Advice Needed, Please

As I've mentioned many times before, we live in the woods. Our yard does not get much sunlight. Things do not grow well here except for trees. We also live on top of a hill with many ravines all leading to the streams or creeks on our property. Erosion is an issue for us. And some of the erosion is happening pretty close to the house. Now, add a very active dog and a bunch of chickens who love to eat grass and scratch around, and we are beginning to worry that all of the dying grass may make erosion a bigger problem than it is currently.

We have tried miracle grow on the bare spots (didn't help at all). We are also running the sprinkler sometimes as we have not had rain for a few weeks. And we have decided to keep the chickens in the coop for the next 7 days, then only letting them out every other day (hoping this will allow the grass time to recover between chicken feasts).

We've talked about putting in planting beds instead of grass in those areas that seem to die off easily, though they would have to be fenced in to keep out the dog and chickens and hubby is not really crazy about fences all over. We've also talked about compost and St. Augustine plugs with a fence around them only until they are established. Perhaps even hostas or other shade loving plants, though if the chickens will eat hostas, then we will just end up back in the same place we started.

Anyone have any experience with erosion and planting to prevent erosion in shady areas with lots of animals all working against you? Or, if not, do you still have opinions or suggestions?


MichelleZ said...

Lori, you could try phlox or some other type of cover crop that will take over and continue to come back year after year. Also, get a soil test done to see what your soil needs nutrient wise...without seeing things, it may need lime to reduce acidity to get the grass growing, but if it is just because of the heat and lack of water, patience is needed and maybe some reseeding would help...could you post some pictures so I can see the areas?

The Book Lady Online said...


I will try to post a pic or two soon. So far, the chickens not having access to the area seems to be helping the most. I'll try to get those pics up tomorrow.

Alea said...

I have almost no experience with shade, but I sure wish I did!

When trying to build back grass, we lay down seed cover it a little thicker than usual with mature compost or rich dirt. Then we temporarily fence it off for a couple of weeks to let it become strong and established before we let the animals back on it. Do you mind clover? It is a pretty hearty perrenial, stays low to the ground, and does well in shade.