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Old 09-23-2018, 01:36 PM
 
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Lots of plants can be invasive in the south. Take bermuda grass (please...). If one is really having a problem with vinca, there are things to do, like edge the area. IIRC, it pulls pretty easily, too.

Problem is that we want plants to grow well, and fast, but only in the area we want. How's the plant to know that?
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:38 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
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Fair enough Reactionary, and point taken.

I too would personally prefer the types of plants you suggested above, in particular I think some short growing species of ajuga would do quite well for OP's present conditions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajuga

Pictures for OP's consideration: https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...uga&ajaxhist=0


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Old 09-23-2018, 01:44 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
5,984 posts, read 5,768,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heartdurhamnc View Post
Someone told me to try Zoysia grass.

You could try that. It grows well under a lot of adverse conditions, it doesn't like acid soil and you might have to give it amendments to counteract the acid and make the soil more neutral, but nothing ventured nothing gained. https://www.lawncare.net/how-to-grow-zoysia-grass/


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Old 09-24-2018, 02:25 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
7,056 posts, read 2,189,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Thanks Reactionary for the compliment about my usual advice, but I think you've missed something. If you read enough of my posts you'll notice that I have a few times mentioned the invasive properties and difficulties associated with vinca, and that I don't ever minimize any kinds of invasives.

In my particular location I too live in a lush, fertile, year round, mild greenhouse climate area and I have to deal year round with evergreen vinca, English ivy, Virginia creeper, kudzu, wicked, wicked Himalayan blackberry brambles and bindweed, not to mention numerous other perennial and annual invasives, that all became naturalized on the property and gardens here long before they came under my care. I can tell you that in my experience of them all (which, btw, would all grow well in OP's conditions) the vinca is the one that is the very easiest and the least destructive one of these invasives to control and cut back when needed. It's also easier to kill than all the others.

I'd be interested in your ground cover suggestions for the OP's situation other than the fescue you already suggested, because I know that fescue, like most grasses, doesn't do well in acid conditions and it's next to impossible to keep it constantly raked clear of dropped pine needles that cover it. I personally feel that the OP has a much bigger problem to deal with than occasionally trimming back vinca, that being the erosion that he has described, and he needs something that takes the place of grasses and a lawn as a ground cover that will prevent erosion.

If enough erosion occurs the OP is at greater risk of having his pine trees topple over and come crashing down in the near future of ever increasing and more violent storms that we must all plan ahead for because of climate change. I think it's very important for everyone to take climate change extremes into consideration for future plantings. Of course, he could solve the whole problem right now by cutting down the majority of his pine trees and then amending his soil and replanting all of it. Not seeing pictures of his property to judge it more effectively, apparently the OP's back yard doesn't have any native herbaceous and woody plant species (or anything else) that are at risk of being displaced by vinca. I don't know what else to suggest (well I do, but I don't think the OP would be open to them) but I don't think he's going to have any success with planting any grasses under his pines.

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I have several patches of Vinca minor at my place and it is not difficult to control or contain. It has done an excellent job of stabilizing the loose, sandy soil that was put on the front of my property, by the contractors who widened and paved the street. Be wary about planting Vinca major, though, as it will spread rapidly and tends to climb up into shrubs. I have a couple of major trimming sessions every year with it and I'd recommend removing it completely, to anyone who doesn't want to spend time doing yard work. But in the almost 20 years I've had Vinca minor, I haven't yet needed to trim the very slowly-spreading patches of it. It hasn't spread to any of my neighbors' yards.
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,922 posts, read 5,151,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heartdurhamnc View Post
Our back yard has lot of pine trees, and our lawn is not growing. I don't know what type of grass we currently have. The moss is taking over our back yard. After the rain the backyard is so mash not sure if the french drain we have are all clogged. To be on the safe side we will just replace the corrugated pipes. Who knows they may be full of roots etc and not draining at all. The lawn not growing is causing the soil to wash away. We are planning on taking our soil to be tested.

We wanted to buy grass seeds instead of sod.
Assuming that you're in Durham. I'm in Raleigh/Knightdale.

I had good luck with Pennington's shade mix and Rebel's shade mix. They are fescue varieties and fescue does well here.

Rake the area up really well to agitate the soil. If you're concerned about it washing away maybe some straw on top as well.

Use about 2X the amount of seed you think you need.

You almost can't water it enough.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:01 AM
 
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Pine trees can 'drink' about 100 gallons of water each per day, when available. Another popular choice for pine tree shade in the South is azalea.

Thank you Zoisite. I really do enjoy reading your advice because you seem knowledgeable. If you don't mind me prying, what garden-related education, training, or certifications do you have?

Steve - ack! Another west coaster it seems, although I've seen your posts in the Alabama sub-forum. You can't control birds et alii and their poo (yes, vinca usually spreads through rhizomes, but they do seed).
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:48 PM
 
534 posts, read 203,730 times
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try Annual Rye Grass. every spring sow some.
it dies out after the first fall frost. reseed the next year.
this costs me $50-$75 a year in my shady areas.
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Old 09-24-2018, 01:57 PM
 
2,660 posts, read 1,262,257 times
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Rye does not like shade, even the annual kind.

If the OP insists on grass, check the soil pH (did someone mention that already? sorry...) since pine needles have an acid reaction and grass does not like acid soil.
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
4,654 posts, read 5,813,574 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reactionary View Post
Ack! Not periwinkle (vinca), as it is invasive!

https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/s....html?sub=3081

Zoisite - since you are a west coaster, I bolded part of the passage above. While most of the advice you provide is excellent, it is disappointing that you seem to ignore / minimize the problem with invasives. I don't think you realize that the South is pretty much like a greenhouse much of the year, and that trying to 'control' (mowing / trimming twice a year) the plant is difficult, especially for those who may be novice gardeners.
I have vinca in the woods behind my house. I have an erosion problem and have been hoping the vinca would spread, but it has only spread very slowly over a period of over 20 years. This area had a lot of pine trees but most of them have died leaving a mixture of oaks and maples.
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:47 AM
 
193 posts, read 102,770 times
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Thanks to everyone. My first choice is to have grass. The backyard after the rain the soil is soggy. We are now replacing the corrugated pipes as we think maybe the ones we have might have holes or clogged with roots. So this is step1. I read that we need to apply lime first to reduce the acidity of the soil to kill the moss.
After moss die add lawn fertilizer, with potassium phosphate.

@bigbear99-checking the soil pH is on our list to do. I just read that you take soil from 3 different areas and send to be tested for free.

@turkeydance- Annual Rye grass we will look into that

@Reactionary-thank you i might plant azalea in some areas

@Jonnov-hello neighbor. Pennington's shade mix and Rebel's shade mix i will buy those and give it a try. Did you buy them at L or HD?
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