Erosion And Native Plants – Why Are Native Plants Good For Erosion

Erosion And Native Plants – Why Are Native Plants Good For Erosion

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by Tntk

For natural beauty and ease of care, you can’t go wrong using native plants in your landscape. Erosion resistant native plants can also help stabilize hillsides and disturbed sites. There are many native plants good for erosion and, once established, they will need little maintenance and are tolerant of the conditions in the site. Building an erosion proof plan starts with a list of some of the best native plants for erosion control.

About Erosion and Native Plants

Using native plants in the landscape provides a visual “tie-in” to the surrounding flora. They are more adaptable than imported species and have the ability to thrive once they mature without much human intervention. Whether you have a hillside, slope along a waterway or a previously eroded space, native plants can help preserve the soil and maintain the land.

Erosion can occur from wind, gravity, water and even over-use. Utilizing native plants can help anchor soil and reduces run-off.

These indigenous plant stars are used to the conditions in the region and perform their duties without excess water use while providing natural habitat and enhancing biodiversity.

Using a mixture of trees, shrubs and ground covers will also enhance the appeal of the site. Choose plants that offer a variety of attributes such as food, seasonal color and various heights. Also, consider a mixture of flora that has fibrous or taproots for additional soil retention.

Preventing Native Garden Erosion with Creeping Plants

Groundcovers are perfect native plants for erosion control. Creeping juniper is about as unfussy as you could wish for and forms a dense mat-like, low-growing shrub. If you want seasonal color, select a plant like Kinnikinnick. It turns a glorious burgundy in fall and produces sweet flowers in late spring. Wild strawberries will feed you and the birds and fill in an erosion prone area quickly and effortlessly.

Some other low growing native plants good for erosion are:

  • Deer fern
  • Redwood sorrel
  • Douglas aster
  • False lily of the valley

Tall Erosion Resistant Native Plants

Trees and shrubs add impact to the landscape while also preserving erosion prone areas. A spring flowering Pacific crabapple or red barked madrone will complement any garden. These statuesque native plants need little care once established. Or perhaps you want to go a little smaller. Try Oregon grape with three seasons of interest or snowberry, which will attract bird life.

Vertical plantings are just as effective. Simply ensure they have a little help at the outset establishing. Other trees and shrubs to try might include:

  • Spicebush
  • Laurel sumac
  • Western azalea
  • Pacific rhododendron

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