Rains and wind can take a toll on the earth. And if your property has hills and slopes, you could be dealing with erosion problems. We all know that permanent structures like retaining walls can help tremendously. But there are also plants that are used specifically for their strong root systems to stabilize soil. Best of all, most are ornamental species that will look gorgeous and no one will suspect they are doing a double duty job!
Prairie and Meadow Plants
These species grew wild in open fields and developed deep root systems. This provided them water during drought and helped sustain life after fire. Today, gardeners use Asters, Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers and other prairie species for their ability to hold soil in place as well as for their beauty, drought tolerance and ability to attract song birds and butterflies!
Ornamental grasses could be considered prairie plants, but there are so many great varieties they deserve their own section! Deer Grass (actually deer resistant), Maiden Grass, Little Bluestem and Northern Lights are all examples of attractive erosion control species.
Trailing Blue Rug Juniper looks fantastic in mass, will secure your slope and cascades beautifully over a retaining wall. If you are looking for something a little taller you might consider Dwarf Blue Arctic Willow, Spirea or Burning Bush, to name a few!
Several low growing species have deep and complex enough root systems to help keep a hillside in place. Massachusetts Kinnikinnick is used specifically for this purpose and offers changing beauty throughout the seasons. Ornamental Strawberry and Ajuga are other examples of groundcovers that will stabilize soil and reduce weed growth at the same time.