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Friday - April 24, 2009

From: Mobile, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What can we plant on the inner and out walls of a detention pond to stop erosion? The pond is located in a neighborhood in Mobile, AL and the walls are 9 ft high with a steep slope.


If the banks are very steep you might want to consider using erosion-control blankets to 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. Underneath the matting 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. Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket or grass plugs can be planted through the blanket. After the grasses have begun to establish themselves and stabilize the area you can add other plants. On the pond edge you could consider adding some attractive aquatic or semi-aquatic plants to help prevent the erosion.


Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) is an attractive grass that does well in moist areas in full sun.

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem) grows well in part shade in moist soils.

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) grows in sun or part shade in dry to moist soils.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) will grow in sun, part shade or shade and in moist or dry soils.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) is a very attractive grass that grows in part shade and shade in moist soils.

Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail) will grow in sun or part shade at the edge of the pond in dry to wet soil.

Eleocharis montevidensis (sand spikerush) would grow well at the edge of the pond in wet or moist soil in the sun.


Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) 

Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)


Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow)

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Andropogon glomeratus

Andropogon virginicus

Panicum virgatum

Carex blanda

Chasmanthium latifolium

Typha latifolia

Eleocharis montevidensis

Lobelia cardinalis

Helianthus angustifolius

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus coccineus

Itea virginica

Lindera benzoin



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