Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Friday - June 26, 2009

From: Winston-Salem, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants to stop creek bank erosion in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi: I live in NC where most of the dirt is clay based. I have a small creek behind my house that is eroding. The creek overflows when there is a heavy rain and as a result, gradual erosion. My goal is to plant a row of trees/shrubs for erosion control and bank stabilization along with privacy as there are houses behind me that are on top of a hill. I plan to plant on the side of the creek away from my house. I also have a smaller area to plant on the house side of the creek. I have a fence and it helps but this side is slowing eroding too. I would like to figure out how to handle this side without planting anything that blocks the view of the creek. I need help with what to plant that will cover both topics and add some natural landscaping beauty, not weedy looking and help with ideas on the house side of the creek. Please help as if I continue to loose my bank, it will move into my backyard. Thank you in advance for any ideas.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants found the following shrubs/small trees that do well in wet clay soil in North Carolina:

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Cornus amomum (silky dogwood)

Crataegus viridis (green hawthorn)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Salix humilis (prairie willow)

One of the best plants for preventing erosion is grass.  Grasses have extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place very well.  Here are several attractive grasses and grass-like plants that you could put underneath the shrubs or even on the side of the creek nearest your house.

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eleocharis montevidensis (sand spikerush)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail)

Rhynchospora colorata (starrush whitetop)

Finally, here is a fern and several flowering plants that should be nice for the side of the creek nearest your house:

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Crinum americanum (seven sisters)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)


 





 

More Erosion Control Questions

Native plants for erosion control in South Dakota
December 04, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota at about 5000 feet ASL. My house is on a steep hill. I had to clear a perimeter around my house of all the pine trees for fire supp...
view the full question and answer

Economical, low maintenance plants for erosion control on a bank
May 29, 2006 - Please advise of all species suitable for preventing bank erosion, specifically those that will cover a southern exposure 400 foot long, 15 foot high bank in western North Carolina that grows rapidly ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for erosion control in the state of Washington
December 16, 2010 - Which native grasses do you suggest for maximum erosion control in my area?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.