Plants for Slopes and Erosion Control

Hillsides are usually dry, and difficult or impossible to negotiate for maintenance. When you add soil erosion to the list of problems, challenging slopes can stump even landscape veterans.

If you have a problem slope and you’re looking for a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution, look to a nearby natural forest hillside for inspiration and answers.

You’ll see a wildflowers that work together as a plant community to help hold the soil in place by slowing water runoff and facilitating its absorption.

If you examine each plant species, you’ll find common characteristics:

  • Deep, fibrous roots that solidly anchor each plant and help it withstand droughty conditions. By contrast, plants with sparse, shallow roots—particularly those with heavy foliage—can be top-heavy and easily uprooted with heavy wind or runoff.
  • Tough, low-maintenance plants that don't need staking, fertilizing or insect and disease-control. Resilient, easy care native plants are the perfect choice.
  • Naturalizing is easy for plants that spread by underground suckering. These species, like sumac, sweetspire, forsythia and chokeberry can quickly form thickets that protect your slope and provide desirable wildlife habitat. Similarly, some plants regenerate easily by self-sowing. When we think of self-sowers, we tend think of grasses and wildflowers like Northern Sea Oats, coreopsis or coneflowers. But, trees and shrubs, particularly earlyand prolific-fruiting varieties, can also help fill in an area.

The attached PDF has additional information and a detailed plant list.

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Plants for Slopes and Erosion Control

Information and plant list for plants for slopes and erosion control