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Monday - July 21, 2008

From: Hamden, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control in New York
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am in zone 5/4 New York and I recently purchased a house with two erosion problems- 1. a seasonal stream has cut a gorge about 20 'deep X 40' long.Mature hemlocks are toppling into this hole. it is semi shade, moist clay soil. 2. A fill bank of nearly pure clay,mostly rock at about 80 degrees,full sun. On this site,erosion is so bad that a mature stand of Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) has been unable to advance,though I am in continual battle with it at the top of the slope. After a winter the gullies are 2' deep and 100' long. I have considered wattling willows but the bank is dangerously steep. I do have the capability to grow 1000's of plants to a gallon size Thank you


Wow! When we get canyons like that in Texas, we call them state parks and charge admission. Of course, it has quit raining here, so we haven't had any new parks open up recently.

To be honest, we think this is probably beyond the scope of what we can do with native plants, or maybe any plants. Our specialty at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the care, protection and propagation of plants native to the area in which they are grown. It sounds more like you need a firm of civil engineers than advice from gardeners. If mature trees and Japanese knotweed are unable to hold their own against the erosion, we can't think of anything else that could. This doesn't sound like a feature that could have been hidden beneath a neatly mowed lawn. Did you have some plans for the site when you purchased it?

Because we don't know zip about construction of retaining walls, etc. we tried to find some websites that could at least give you some ideas of where to start. This first one is actually from a California nursery. They do recommend some plants, but they are all suitable to California. Las Pilitas Simple erosion control for a hillside or garden slope.(California) Another site from the California government has some more ideas for construction or basic erosion prevention. We realize New York is way different from California, but we couldn't find any sites on controlling erosion in New York. We would definitely recommend that you call in some professionals in site control. If that crevice keeps growing and that bank keeps sliding, you're going to run out of a place for your house.


More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
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Erosion Control in Bartlesville OK
May 10, 2012 - What kind of plants can we use to stop erosion and loss of bank on a creek that is mostly shaded? Is there any free advice/plants for people that are losing land due to water levels rising/dropping?
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Native plants to prevent erosion in Maryland
February 03, 2009 - Please can you recommend native plants for a north-facing slope, under pine trees? I live in Maryland near the border between the Coastal Plain and Piedmont Plateau, where we have cold to mild Winter...
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Low maintenance, shade tolerant groundcover for Pacific Northwest
August 09, 2012 - What's a good low maintenance, shade tolerant ground cover for the Pacific Northwest? It needs to have good erosion control, too.
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Fast-growing ground cover for creekside
May 18, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Austin Texas and am looking for an aggressively spreading ground cover or grass to plant along a small creek on the back of my property in order to help with soil er...
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