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Sunday - August 19, 2012

From: Fairview, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Slope Erosion control for Fairview NC
Answered by: Larry Larson


Please recommend plants to help with soil erosion on a slope. The soil is red clay and area gets full sun. The slope is approximately 12' x 12'. I live in Fairview, NC


That’s a small area!   As a general approach, the best plants to stabilize a slope and prevent erosion are plants like grasses that have fibrous root systems and shrubs and perennials that spread with runners to form thickets.  For that area, one or two shrubs at most would fit. 

Here are two previous answers that will give you an idea of some choices.  This one is a very similar earlier question about a NC creek bank.  This one concerns erosion control near Charlotte.

From those two messages we can recommend these grasses for full sun and clay soil:   Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem),  Carex texensis (Texas sedge),  Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem),  Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

I also like to scan native plants that might add for this specific situation in addition to those suggested previously.  Here is a link to the North Carolina Collection, these collections are lists of natives to your aea that can be sorted for certain characteristics. Here is a selection of wildflowers; these should help anchor the slope while also adding some seasonal color:
Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)
Baptisia australis (Blue wild indigo)
Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)
Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)


From the Image Gallery

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Blue wild indigo
Baptisia australis

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

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