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Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants to control hillside erosion in Vermont

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Friday - May 23, 2008

From: Orleans, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants to control hillside erosion in Vermont
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Vermont. What kinds of plants would hold together a hillside and could be planted in abundance for cheap?

ANSWER:

Your best bet to meet both your criteria—controlling erosion and saving money—is native grass. Grasses, because of their extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil, are ideal plants to stabilize a steep area and prevent erosion. Here is a paper that may be helpful to you—The Use of Warm Season Grasses for Critical Area Stabilization by C. F. Miller and J. A. Dickerson from the Proceedings of the 2nd Eastern Native Grass Symposium, Baltimore, MD November 1999. It has recommendations for site preparation and planting procedures as well as the best grass species to use.

Here are the grasses of the core mix from the paper. These occur in Vermont or in adjacent states (e.g., New York).

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

These are other grasses that occur in Vermont or in adjacent states that are mentioned in the above paper.

Panicum amarum (bitter panicgrass)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Festuca rubra (red fescue)

Festuca subverticillata (nodding fescue)


Andropogon gerardii

Sorghastrum nutans

Schizachyrium scoparium

Panicum virgatum

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

 

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