About Erosion Control & Top 5 Plants For Erosion!

About Erosion Control & Top 5 Plants For Erosion!

large blog header

Keep your ground where it belongs! Stopping erosion is crucial for landscapes by water features, moving bodies of water, hillsides, and steep slopes. The slow whittling away of your topsoil with wind, rain, or rushing water.

Since all our plants get their nutrients from the soil and it stabilizes everything above ground, the soil is kind of important! 

An estimated 36 billion tons of fertile topsoil is lost due to erosion each year! Topsoil is that thin layer that covers the rocky core of this blue and green bubble we’re floating on and is only about 5-10 inches deep! Everything that supports our entire ecosystem and food web - is grown right there in less than a foot of the Earth.

So it is pretty important to keep soil where it belongs!

What is Erosion

Erosion is defined as the geological process in which soil is worn away and moved by natural means such as wind or water. While there are many landscaping methods that help minimize or stop soil being whisked away, such as -

  • Detaining or retaining rainwater and stormwater until it can soak in the ground erosion and exposed roots
  • Slowing or stopping wind with Windbreaks
  • Physical barriers and terraces
  • Conservation buffers
  • Retaining walls
  • Bank erosion control measures for River, pond, and water features
  • Erosion control plants, hydroseeding, cover crops, and reforestation
  • Arborist bark chips or mulch: learn how and why to mulch your plants in the video below

Here are Nature Hills, we can help with at least one of these control measures - Plants!

Plants for Erosion Control!

Help hold back the tide of rushing rainwater, a disintegrating stream or pond bank, or a hard-to-mow hillside that sheds water and soil becausegroundcover of the rain and wind. By letting plants ramble and roam over a hilly slope, creating a vertical Rock garden, or creating terraces in the soil.

Plants with dense and fibrous root systems keep the soil where it belongs and prevents washout from the heavy downforce of driving rain. By slowing the water, it gives the soil a chance to absorb the water before it flows away with your soil into storm drains. Plants also help filter the water before it ends up back into the water cycle with your precious topsoil too!

Erosion control plants stabilize banks, slow runoff, slow driving rain, and keep the air cleaner from the wind picking the topsoil and whisking it away like a mini dust bowl. Transform dangerous to mow hillsides and slopes into verdant slopes with a few of the right plants, and their correct placement.

Groundcover plants also act as living mulch to help keep soil moisture, and soil health, combat drought (that leads to wind erosion), and also benefit larger shrubs and trees they are planted around the same way a cover crop, arborist bark chips, and buffer zones in a farmer's field do. 

Groundcovers, cover crops, and erosion control plants benefit your landscape by slowing down these natural processes while beautifying your landscape at the same time! Finding the right shrub or plant for your needs is easy!

Choosing the Right Plants For You!

Knowing you have a problem before it becomes a problem is half the battle! Next is choosing the right plants for your growing zone and location, plus the right plants for your type of erosion.

Top 5 Wet Soil and Bank Stabilizing Trees and Shrubs snowball viburnum

Go beyond the Willow trees, cattails, and potentially invasive Pampas Grasses with these soggy/damp/wet soil-loving plants. A bank of mud can become a lovely garden feature.

  1. Viburnum Shrubs
  2. Bald Cypress
  3. Dogwood Shrubs - Silky Dogwood, Red Twigged Dogwood
  4. River Birch
  5. Buttonbush

Top 5 Erosion Control Perennials and Shrubs for Shade sugar shack buttonbush

Shade and erosion can make for a tricky combo, but these plants are here to save the day. Many groundcovers act as fantastic soil stabilizers while covering large areas of ground with their own creeping branches and spreading nature turning what normally would be a barren hillside or washed away.

  1. Ferns like Christmas, Royal, Lady, and Cinnamon Ferns
  2. Diervilla (Bush Honeysuckle)
  3. Virginia Creeper
  4. Harbor Belle Nandina
  5. Buttonbush

Top 5 Soil Stabilizing Trees loblolly pine

Long-lived trees, and their extensive root systems, slow the rain as it comes down and their roots hold soil in place beautifully! The broad, dense and deeply growing roots of trees are fantastic long-term soil stabilizing solutions with loads of their own perks and side benefits!

  1. Douglas Fir
  2. Crabapple Trees
  3. Western Red Cedar
  4. Loblolly Pine
  5. Willow Trees

Top 5 Soil Stabilizing Shrubs gold ninebark

Many native shrubs are just what the doctor ordered for holding soil right where it belongs. Roots of shrubs help hold soil and secure it in place, the leaves shade and protect the soil from blowing or flowing away, and both help retain soil moisture that also further helps keep soil from going anywhere.

  1. Red and Black Chokeberry (Aronia)
  2. Arrowwood and Maple-Leaf Viburnums
  3. Buttonbush
  4. Ninebark Shrubs
  5. Winterberry Holly

Top 5 Great Shrubs and Perennials for Hillside and Slopes piglet grass

Take advantage of vining and spreading plants on slopes. Steep hills can be tricky with rushing water, eroding soil, pooling, and wind that gets trapped. Groundcovers and sprawling flowing vines and spreading plants love to ramble down these hilly areas. 

  1. Honeysuckle Vines
  2. Fountain Grass
  3. Bush Honeysuckle or Massachusetts Kinnikinnick
  4. Groundcovers like Ajuga, Vinca, and Creeping Rosemary or Creeping Thyme
  5. Native Sumac

Top 5 Windbreak Plants to Fight Erosion tater tot arborvitae

Whipping wind and drifting snow can carry away your soil fast! Plant a windbreak or hedge to block and slow the forces of nature.

  1. Sumac Bushes
  2. Arborvitae Shrubs
  3. Austrian Pine
  4. Black Willow 
  5. Eastern Redcedar

Top 5 Perennials That Slow and Filter Water Runoff

Water runoff makes for a soggy one day, dry the next location which can be tricky! Choose plants that thrive in both conditions and keep their roots deep to hold the soil in place. In addition to the wet soil plants above, try some of these for help as well.

blue flag iris

  1. Sedge and Rush Grasses
  2. Lilyturf (Liriope)
  3. Blue Flag Iris
  4. Swamp Milkweed
  5. Swamp Sunflower

Pretty Placeholders

Once your plants are planted, be sure to include a nice 3-4 inch layer of arborist wood chips with varying size shreds of bark, stems, and wood to receive water and hold the soil until the plant roots that can help out. Water consistently until your plants are established if they are in a location without consistent moisture.

After, watch as your plants spread and grow and keep your soil right where it belongs! Your birds, pollinators, curb appeal, the environment, and ourselves are all better off with plants in our lives! Keep your soil where it belongs and stop the water runoff with some properly placed plants for your every need with the help of NatureHills.com. 

Happy Planting!

← Previous Next →