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Saturday - April 16, 2011

From: Buford, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Preventing erosion on a sloping lot
Answered by: Janice Kvale


I am trying to find a native plant to use on a sloped area in my back yard to help prevent the slope from eroding away (zone 7- N. Atlanta, GA). I want something evergreen, between 6 to 30 inches tall, and somewhat fast growing. The slope gets about a half day's sun and ends in a natural wooded/stream area. Thank you!


My goodness! Georgia must be a hilly place as we get many requests for slope plantings there. I am going to consider your request specifically but you may want to check other responses to this problem. To do so, click on Mr. Smarty Plants on our web site, in the upper right corner under Search put "plants for a slope in Georgia", and be amazed at the response.

To prevent erosion on a slope, you want a plant that forms a dense, fibrous root system. That usually means grasses, sedges or ferns. Grass tends to grow tall; ferns and sedges are evergreen and closer to your height preference. I've selected some plants close to matching your height requirements. Light requirement for a sun-loving plant is 6 or more hours daily, for part shade 2-6 hours, and less than 2 hours for shade. Many plants are quite tolerant of any amount of light and/or moisture. Here are a few for you to consider.


Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) 2-3 feet; sun, part shade.

Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama) 10-18 inches; part shade.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) 1-2.5 feet; part shade, shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) 18-24 inches dense mound, will shoot stems to 3 feet in fall; sun, part shade.


Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) 12-18 inches; part shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) 10-12 inches; sun, part shade.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) 1-3 feet; sun, part shade, shade.


Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; easily established.

Asplenium platyneuron (Ebony spleenwort) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade.

Thelypteris noveboracensis (New york fern) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade; spreads rapidly into dense colonies.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; appropriate near the pond.


Gaylussacia dumosa (Dwarf huckleberry) 3-15 inches; part shade; slower growing ground cover that thrives at margins of ponds.

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Schizachyrium scoparium

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Carex blanda

Polystichum acrostichoides

Asplenium platyneuron

Thelypteris noveboracensis

Woodwardia areolata

Gaylussacia dumosa



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