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Wednesday - July 23, 2008

From: Pleasant Hill, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Groundcover for erosion control in Missouri
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Can you suggest a ground cover to stop erosion on a slight slope in my backyard? I live in Missouri - the soil is very poor in this area and has lots of rock underneath the soil. The yard drains into a creek bed at the back of my property.


Grasses do an excellent job of erosion control because their extensive fibrous root system holds the soil very well. You don't say whether your backyard is shaded or not, but I will suggest several attractive grasses and indicate what their light requirements are.

Grasses These all are 1-3 ft tall.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) sun, part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) sun and dry soil

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) sun, part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) sun, part shade and dry soil

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Sedges These look very much like grass, but tend to be shorter. They also have fibrous root systems that hold soil.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) sun, part shade, shade and dry to moist soils

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge) sun and wet or moist soils

Ferns These are attractive for moist areas with shade. The Christmas fern will also grow in the sun.

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern) part shade, shade and wet or moist soil

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) part shade and moist or wet soil

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) sun, part shade and moist or dry soil. This fern is evergreen.

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua gracilis

Elymus canadensis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Chasmanthium latifolium

Carex pensylvanica

Carex stipata

Athyrium filix-femina

Osmunda cinnamomea

Polystichum acrostichoides



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