Mulching on a slope

Almost all our holding is sloping.  There are small level areas, but generally the land slopes down from the road to the river.  A little below the barn is one of the steeper escarpments.  I have planted this area with trees that are less likely to be coppiced for fuel wood; such as scots pine, rowan, small leaved lime, beech and holly.  Most of these species also prefer it to be well drained.  Last year I also planted 6 small juniper bushes.  I discussed in a previous post using fiber insulation underlay as mulch material.

juniper in new insulation
New Juniper May 2017

One of the reasons I was keen on it was it would stay on a 45 degree slope with no additional weighing down even in our winds.  However, it is now showing signs of composting into the bank and grass seeding into it’s surface.  The plastic reinforcing fibres are quite obvious now, but are still enmeshed with the underlay.

juniper worn mulch
Juniper with worn underlay Dec 2017

I have therefore been round all the underlay patches and mulched over the underlay with cardboard on the slopes and newspaper (very old and damp) on the flatter areas.  Hopefully this time next year the underlay will have completely gone, and I can just peel back the cardboard and rake up the plastic fibres, if they haven’t got too much in the way of roots growing through them!  The newspaper on the level does not really need weighing down now – it is pretty consolidated although the birds are digging under it a little looking for treats.  It would have been too difficult to use on the slope however, so I have used 4 large sheets of corrugated cardboard.  These are overlapping with the juniper poking out the middle, and weighed down with some spare fence post stobbs that we had left over from our temporary fencing whilst evicting the sheep.  I’m pretty pleased with the way it looks, although the dogs think there is something very exciting hidden under the cardboard  – so I don’t think it will necessarily last as long as it should!

mulching on slope
Cardboard mulching on a slope!

4 thoughts on “Mulching on a slope

  1. I use cardboard and newpaper as well as most of the junk mail I get, I find after a while when the wet cardboard starts to soften the birds, especially the blackbirds start chucking it all over the place looking for food I console myself with the idea they are (hopefully) eating all the bad bugs, your mulch looks good nice large pieces of cardboard, oh and I have old carpet that is like your underlay, deteriating, seeded into and non degradable bits showing, it doesn’t seem to hamper plant growth, Frances

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    1. Yes, birds and dogs equally destructive sometimes. I just don’t like the idea of leaving plastic strands around. Probably not too much of a problem in the ground, but can be an issue if used for nesting materials, since it can wrap around limbs or be ingested…


      1. ah, the carpet in my garden hasn’t go strands but a square mesh quite solid and mostly covered in thick moss, it doesn’t seem to be plastic either but a very strong fibre, I don’t know what, it was the carpet in the sittingroom of the house when I moved in, I too would worry about loose plastic strands, infact any loose plastic laying around, Frances

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