I hate ice plant.

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Oxford on September 2, 2009 - 12:41pm

In all the homes I’ve owned with a slope, they were always covered with bee and rat haven, nasty looking requisite ice plant. (The slope not the home - but in time, I am sure, both).

Often, the slope was from "cut" and hard enough to strike a match on so the dreadful vegetation looked more like a water buffalo with mange.

I will be closing escrow next week and when you gaze out to the backyard you see a beautiful pool and… you guessed it – ICE PLANT.

I just KNOW there has to be a better form of plant life for slopes considering that they have had 475 million years to evolve. And I know the PIGG brain trust will contain such wisdom as its evolution is of a similar timeframe.

So share your agri-knowledge and help me escape this creeping ground sucking shrubbery for good.

OX
…ice ain’t nice

Submitted by SHILOH on September 2, 2009 - 1:10pm.

Southern CA is basically desert. I am on the polar opposite of your view. Are you from Southern CA? Ice plant is great landscaping, prevents erosion, tolerates low water conditions - which is why it's used for landscaping, as I understand it. Since the State of CA is essentially broke, more of these
low water type plants - like ice plant - should be utilized for landscaping.

There is a project at Cuyamaca College that educates on various grass types and plants for Southern CA landscaping w/ lowest possible water use. I have visited it and it's very educational:
http://www.thegarden.org/

Be kind to the bees - we need all the pollinaters we can get.

Submitted by sdduuuude on September 2, 2009 - 1:09pm.

It isn't as bad as some alternatives, such as weeds with foxtails in them.

I have ice plant on my back slope and have no rat issues and I'm on a canyon. Perhaps my dogs and the local coyotes keep the critters out.

The only really nice way is to terrace the whole slope, which can get very expensive quickly. You can build a 3' retaining wall without a permit, so just build a series of 3' walls with nice flat land between them.

Some materials say you can use a gravel footing instead of concrete. For terracing a large slope, though, I would recommend using a concrete footing anyway. I had one wall on a gravel footing list, and I know a friend who's wall also went bad on him.

In San Diego, be careful of land that has been declared "environmentally sensitive." You can't build structures on that. If you do have "environmentally sensitive" land and it is on a slope that has been cut or filled, you can pull old grading permits, show the city that it is a "manmade" slope and they will lift the sensitive rating.

In Clairemont, a very popular method for building retaining walls is to stack chunks of concrete (from old slabs that have been removed). It isn't beautiful, but if you make all of the walls with the same method, it has some charm to it in a Clairemont sort of way.

Submitted by sdduuuude on September 2, 2009 - 1:11pm.

Yeah, Shiloh - it's cheap and it works. Can't say that about too many things.

Submitted by ucodegen on September 2, 2009 - 1:28pm.

Ice Plant may not be the most aesthetic plant to some.. but considering what is happening in the San Gabriels... Ice Plant is fire resistant.

Submitted by briansd1 on September 2, 2009 - 1:49pm.

sdduuuude wrote:

In Clairemont, a very popular method for building retaining walls is to stack chunks of concrete (from old slabs that have been removed). It isn't beautiful, but if you make all of the walls with the same method, it has some charm to it in a Clairemont sort of way.

There is a word for that. It's called urbanite (like kryptonite).

Urbanite is not that great Southern Cal but in areas with moisture and rain, it's great. Moss will grow on the urbanite giving it a great look.

http://www.stripmindmedia.net/blog/2008/...

Submitted by briansd1 on September 2, 2009 - 1:48pm.

sdduuuude wrote:

The only really nice way is to terrace the whole slope, which can get very expensive quickly. You can build a 3' retaining wall without a permit, so just build a series of 3' walls with nice flat land between them.

I'm in favor of terracing.

I think that it's best to use low walls (terraces, steps up and and down with planter beds and patio trees) to delimit the outdoor living area and let nature be in areas beyond that. Low maintenance and low water use.

Submitted by temeculaguy on September 2, 2009 - 4:30pm.

I think there are a few varieties of ice plant, some don't grow into the mounds or flower as much, the one that kinda grows diagnonally is pretty cool and doesn't go brown in summer. I dig the kind that looks like purple snow a few weeks a year, imo, they beat red apple which tends to overgrow. Like the others said, these types of ground cover are common because they do well in heat, use little water and make for a great fire break.

Do your best to avoid POMPUS GRASS, I can't believe they even sell it at home depot because it is a weed and not native, that is a rat paradise and a fire hazzard. Plus it's near impossible to get rid of without nuclear weapons, I think it uses round-up like plant food and it spreads like crazy, try to cut it and it will cut you back with it's razor sharp leaves. The last time I battled one I swear it said "feed me seymore."

Submitted by svelte on September 2, 2009 - 5:37pm.

I had the same problem at my last house, Ox. I hated ice plant but needed something to cover the various slopes.

There are a couple of solutions, depending upon how big the slope is.

For smaller slopes, I found that Indian Hawthorne worked great. Roots held all the dirt in place, they look great and bloom once a year in your choice of pink or white flowers....a combination of both looks mighty fine actually. Once the IH matured, it blocked out enough sunlight that I never had to weed the hillside again.

For larger slopes, I love coyote brush. It is native chapparel in California and Oregon and to my eye looks great. There are several varieties that can look quite different so you have your choice of styles. CB grew very fast and covered the big hillside in about a year. It takes a lot of space though so be sure the area to cover is quite large.

Good luck...

Submitted by Aecetia on September 2, 2009 - 6:22pm.

Baccharis pilularis pilularis Pigeon Point Dwarf Coyote Brush tolerates seaside conditions, alkaline soil, sand and clay.

http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-cali...

Submitted by capeman on September 2, 2009 - 9:36pm.

Iceplant is spectacular for part of the defensible space around a house. It is very fire resistant.

It also serves another great purpose when there is a nice long slope of it... Take an old snowboard that you don't care about anymore, strap yourself in and pull some stunts. You won't be able to carve well but it's nice and bouncy for stunts and if you fall it won't hurt like sand dunes or a wet grass hill. SWEET!!

Submitted by Oxford on September 3, 2009 - 1:26am.

Aecetia wrote:
Baccharis pilularis pilularis Pigeon Point Dwarf Coyote Brush tolerates seaside conditions, alkaline soil, sand and clay.

http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/baccharis-pilularis-pilularis-pigeon-point

Yeah!! now we are talking!! I knew there were other options. There is some bushy slope cover by the tennis courts at the LCV clubhouse. I will take some photos and post them in a few days.

Thanks for your input. You PIGGS never fail me.

ox
... dope with a slope

Submitted by sdgrrl on September 3, 2009 - 9:08am.

I agree Oxford- i can't stand the sight of ice plant even though it is effective in runoff and erosion. My only advice is to go to a place like Anderson's Nursery in Point Loma by SPAWAR; in no way am I affiliated with the company!

They always give great advice, have been around for over 20 years and have a huge selection of grass and ground covering plants. Then once you get the advice- shop around for the best price.

Before you spend money on a landscaper, or drive yourself bonkers with aesthetic misery I would go there or a place similar.

If you really want to get it out- you probably want to do it quickly as we are about to start getting our rainy time- I know that sounds cheesy but its true. I don't know whats at the bottom of that slope, but it won't be pretty.

My next door neighbor also had ice plant on their slope, hated it, pulled it all out but didn't replace it with anything and its true it just created a nasty mess even when she was just trying water her flowers. Needless to say- the ice plant is back.

Here are some of my favorite ground covering plants:

Creeping Thyme (There are many different types of thyme):

http://z.about.com/d/gardening/1/0/v/K/T...

Sagina subulata(Irish Moss):

http://www.greenhousegrower.com/articles...

Creeping Jenny:

http://www.lukjanov.com/images/garden/Wo...

Campanula Portenschlagiana:

http://www.oddsandends.nl/plant%20images...

Good Luck! Send us a pic once its all done!

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on September 3, 2009 - 9:16am.

Is ice plant the stuff that grows wildly on the side of our highways here in SD? Look like dandelions?

Submitted by sdgrrl on September 3, 2009 - 9:40am.

Here are some pics of ice plant

Blooming:

http://www.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/im...

Not so bloomy:

http://www.sac.edu/HomePages/nigro_dan/I...

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on September 3, 2009 - 9:47am.

Thats the stuff! I actually like that stuff. Not so much when its not blooming but its pretty when it is.

For a slope that is nothing but dirt and rock, not a bad thing to put down, especially if its in sun most of the time.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on September 3, 2009 - 9:49am.

sdgrrl wrote:

My next door neighbor also had ice plant on their slope, hated it, pulled it all out but didn't replace it with anything and its true it just created a nasty mess even when she was just trying water her flowers. Needless to say- the ice plant is back.

Here are some of my favorite ground covering plants:

Creeping Thyme (There are many different types of thyme):

http://z.about.com/d/gardening/1/0/v/K/T...

Sagina subulata(Irish Moss):

http://www.greenhousegrower.com/articles...

Creeping Jenny:

http://www.lukjanov.com/images/garden/Wo...

Campanula Portenschlagiana:

http://www.oddsandends.nl/plant%20images...

Good Luck! Send us a pic once its all done!

Creeping Jenny is nice but loaded with pollen.

The moss is not drought tolerant.

I dig the last one.

Submitted by temeculaguy on September 3, 2009 - 10:32am.

sdgrrl wrote:
Here are some pics of ice plant

Blooming:

http://www.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/im...

Not so bloomy:

http://www.sac.edu/HomePages/nigro_dan/Ice_Plant.jpg

I like the rosea iceplant, but I like the kind that does the purple carpet thing. I looked at the pics that sdgrl posted and while the flower is the same, the plant is different from what I was thinking of. Here are some pics I found of the one I like, the green part isn't smooth, they have this lining redhawk parway in my hood, it looks like carpet or purple snow at times, not a speck of green is visible and it doesn't have the thick, smooth plant leaves.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

notice the green part resembles a worm as opposed to a sword, it should be obvious that i don't know jack about plants, I just know that the purple carpet stuff is neato!

Submitted by sdgrrl on September 3, 2009 - 10:37am.

Wow, those first two were beautiful!

Submitted by desmond on September 3, 2009 - 10:48am.

I had a very large,steep, granite hard slope in Valencia. We planted sprigs of Rosemary. It took forever to grow in, we used very little water, but I liked it. It does attract bees. My neighbor planted Ice Plant, grew faster, took more water, and half the time it had a disease and looked terrible. I trimmed the Rosemary every few years with a hedge trimmer to keep it low. It is great to use with the BBQ. I would use that netting and then plant whatever you do.

Submitted by sdgrrl on September 3, 2009 - 11:07am.

I agree Desmond, Rosemary is a great herb to have around and it has so many functions. The best though is being able to walk outside, clip a few branches and use it with the grill.

Way OT! My fave thing is to cut up potatoes, throw in some onion, salt, pepper,and heavy rosemary- put it in separate small foil packets with a dash of butter and throw it on the grill for about 20 minutes. I get to repeat my fifteen minutes of fame at every BBQ;)

Ok I feel really cheesy for writing that!

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on September 3, 2009 - 12:02pm.

temeculaguy wrote:

I like the rosea iceplant, but I like the kind that does the purple carpet thing. I looked at the pics that sdgrl posted and while the flower is the same, the plant is different from what I was thinking of. Here are some pics I found of the one I like, the green part isn't smooth, they have this lining redhawk parway in my hood, it looks like carpet or purple snow at times, not a speck of green is visible and it doesn't have the thick, smooth plant leaves.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

notice the green part resembles a worm as opposed to a sword, it should be obvious that i don't know jack about plants, I just know that the purple carpet stuff is neato!

Wow - very cool stuff. I wonder if its easy to find at nurseries.

Submitted by Hobie on September 3, 2009 - 12:20pm.

< I wonder if its easy to find at nurseries.>

Try Miramar Wholesale Nursery or Village Nurseries. They can order stuff they don't stock and will sell over the counter.

Submitted by Aecetia on September 3, 2009 - 12:58pm.

Grasses, Shrubs, Ground Covers

* California buckwheat
* California sagebrush
* Chamise or greasewwod
* Dry annual grasses
* Juniper
* Laurel sumac
* Manzanita
* Pampas grass
* Rosemary
* Scotch broom
* Scrub oak
* Spanish broom
* Sugar bush
* Toyon

All plants are flammable if not pruned periodically and the risk attached to any one plant can be greatly diminished with maintenance.

http://fire.countyofventura.org/Preventi...

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on September 3, 2009 - 12:58pm.

Hobie wrote:
< I wonder if its easy to find at nurseries.>

Try Miramar Wholesale Nursery or Village Nurseries. They can order stuff they don't stock and will sell over the counter.

Cheers!

Submitted by svelte on September 4, 2009 - 7:48am.

One of my favorite things to do is to grab my Western Plant Guide and my pickup and spend an afternoon at Miramar Nursery (SD) or Plant World (Escondido)...I can research the plants as I see them...no telling what'll come home in my bed.

Plants, pickup, reference book, and wifey to keep me from buying too much. What a wonderful afternoon.

Submitted by RichardJamesEsquire on September 4, 2009 - 9:34am.

Ice plant grows on top of it's self and is very heavy. Old ice plant on a steep enough hill brings the whole hillside down. I "already had plans" the weekend a buddy removed several thousand pounds of it off his back patio.

Submitted by smshorttimer on September 4, 2009 - 10:02am.

RichardJamesEsquire wrote:
Ice plant grows on top of it's self and is very heavy. Old ice plant on a steep enough hill brings the whole hillside down. I "already had plans" the weekend a buddy removed several thousand pounds of it off his back patio.

I was going to say ... I know I have read/heard some anti-ice plant sentiment before, that it really isn't the erosion fighter we assume it to be.

Here's one story about "highway ice plant"

Highway iceplant not a favored groundcover

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...

Submitted by treehugger on September 4, 2009 - 10:03am.

Native plants are a wonderful option. I have re-vegged many sites for work and am contemplating founding a new religion to revere Distichlis spicata (salt grass) it is a low growing, spreading native grass, with an excellant root structure to assist with erosion control. Low water requirements and low maintenance make it ideal for S. California slopes and I can get it to grow in the most tempermental of soils....

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symb...

I like to remind people that there are some absolutely wonderful natives that can flourish in your backyard gardens. Tree of life nursery has a wonderful web site

http://www.californianativeplants.com/in...

follow the link to see what attracts hummingbirds and you will see some great recomendations for flowers. Native plants typically have a deeper root structure (think tap roots trying to find the water table); therefore, tend to do a much better job at stabilizing slopes.

Ice plant is an incidious invasive plant brought in by Caltrans years ago to attempt to stabilize highway slopes and medians. The reality is that it does not have a very stable root structure (very shallow) and a lot of its erosive protection is in the ability for water going over the top. It is NOT considered a beneficial plant in the world of erosion control. I am hoping that California will place it on the invasive plant list and ban the sale of it (along with pampas grass) another great website to look at is the invasive plant council Don't Plant A Pest program which list the invasive "pests" and offers some good alternatives.

http://www.cal-ipc.org/landscaping/dpp/p...

Submitted by temeculaguy on September 4, 2009 - 11:03pm.

Okay, freeway iceplant, aka, redspike ice plant, is pretty ugly, sparse and doesn't hold back slopes that well. But these last few posts forced me to research it, the stuff i was pimping isn't red spike (highway ice plant), it doesn't really look like iceplant, it is currenlty listed on the living desert website of palm springs as one of their plants in their outdoor botanical gargens so it does well in heat, uses little water and makes a good fire break. The problem with native plants is they burn like the dickens. I'm with you treehugger on the pampuas grass as being devil spawn but go easy on my pretty purple carpet. I found my purple carpet on xeriscape websites as a lawn replacement option, you can't walk on it but you don't have to mow it or water it much and it's pretty. It also wasn't on the bad plant list, it's not the iceplant they list. I did like that list, it listed eucalyptus as evil, I wholeheartedly agree.

I'm afraid I'm not with you on the saltgrass, i took the link and looked at the pictures, it looks a lot like what I pay my kids to pick, my apologies for the senseless and ongoing murder, but at least i don't spray them with roundup, well...not that I'll admit to anyway. If you can outlaw pampas grass and blue gum eucalyptus, I'll leave the salt grass alone, deal.

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