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Sunday - October 03, 2010

From: Binghamton, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm doing research into riverbank erosion in Broome County, NY, and I was wondering if you had some sort of resource that would be able to tell me which species of grasses, shrubs, and trees native to Broome County are best for reducing/eliminating erosion.


Plants that have fibrous root systems or spread by runners are the best for preventing erosion.

You can select plants native to NY by searching our Plant Database using the Combination Search feature and selecting the plant type (trees, shrubs or grasses) and light and moisture conditions. You will also find the Evergreen.ca database helpful since most of the plants native to your area are also native to Ontario. On their Advanced Search page simply select Ontario, native species only, Riparian Habitat and check yes for erosion control.  You can cross reference that list of 67 plants with the combination searches for NY on our database and select plants that are readily available in your area.

Here are some of my favourites from those lists:


Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye or canada wild rye)

Hierochloe odorata (Sweetgrass)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (Softstem bulrush)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)

Cornus sericea (Redosier dogwood)

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)

Rubus odoratus (Purpleflowering raspberry)

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)

Spiraea alba (White meadowsweet)


Abies balsamea (Balsam fir)   Images (from Evergreen.ca)

Acer rubrum (Red maple)

Larix laricina (American larch) Images (from Evergreen.ca)

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)

Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae)

Elymus canadensis

Hierochloe odorata

Panicum virgatum

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus sericea

Physocarpus opulifolius

Rubus odoratus

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

Spiraea alba

Acer rubrum

Prunus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis










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September 23, 2008 - I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
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Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
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Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
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