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Wednesday - April 11, 2007

From: Waxhaw, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control blankets for controlling slope in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We live in NC (red clay dirt). We recently/in the process of installing a pool. They contractor has completely unearthed our entire yard - and part of our property is on a substantial hill. Is there a native plant we can buy and plant into the ground to help hold the hill together? As we think our only option might be to build a retaining wall and really do not want to do that if we can plant some plants that will solve our problem. Please advise. Thank you.


Rather than building a retaining wall, you might consider installing erosion control blankets to help stabilize the erosion area. The erosion-control fabric works by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediment to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. The roots of the plants growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem.

Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. There are several attractive grasses that are native to North Carolina. There are also several herbaceous perennials and small shrubs that could be intermixed with the grasses. For the plants I am recommending, I am assuming that your bare ground would receive considerable sunshine.


Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Herbaceous Perennials:

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster)

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant)

Rudbeckia fulgida (orange coneflower)

Small Shrubs:

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)

You can find more suggestions by doing a Combination Search in the Native Plants Database. We also have a Southeast Recommended Native Plant Species List on our Regional Fastpacks web page with more plant suggestions.

Chasmanthium latifolium

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Physostegia virginiana

Rudbeckia fulgida

Hypericum prolificum

Ceanothus americanus

Rosa carolina







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