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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Mundelein, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy to control bank erosion. A combo of evergreen shrubs/trees/flowers would be ideal. Thank you in advance!

ANSWER:

Here are some recommendations for native plants that should do well on your creek bank.  Unfortunately, there are very few choices for evergreens.

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge)

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail), evergreen

SHRUBS/SMALL TREES

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Cornus amomum (silky dogwood)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Salix nigra (black willow)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

FLOWERS

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (spotted trumpetweed)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

You can see more possibilities by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in the Native Plant Database by selecting 'Illinois' from the Select State or Province, 'Wet..' from Soil moisture, and your choice from the Habit (general appearance) option.

You can also find a list of Wetland Wildflowers of Illinois in the Illinois Wildflowers database.


Carex stipata

Calamagrostis canadensis

Carex vulpinoidea

Equisetum hyemale

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Betula nigra

Salix nigra

Lindera benzoin

Lobelia cardinalis

Asclepias incarnata

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Lobelia siphilitica

Justicia americana

 

 

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