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Wednesday - February 18, 2015

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native border plants to stop erosion
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need native border plants to assist in stopping soil erosion due to water run off from rain and the Catawba River.

ANSWER:

A good way to find plants that would do well for border plants is to visit our North Carolina Recommended list which gives commercially available plants that are known to do well in North Carolina.  In the sidebar on that page there are choices you can make to NARROW YOUR SEARCH.  Since I don't know whether you are looking for woody plants (shrubs) or herbaceous plants or the amount of sunlight the area receives, I didn't use any of the criteria to limit the search.  I did find a combination of shrubs and herbaceous perennials that you might consider.  They are:

Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush) can grow to a large bush or small tree but it does very well holding the soil at the edge of ponds and streams.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby st. johnswort)

There are more to be considered so you should try the search yourself.

That list does not include any grasses or grasslike species.  Grasses are very good plants to help prevent erosion since they have extensive fibrous root systems that can hold the soil in place.  Most grasses do best in full sun, but there are also some that do well in part or full shade.  Most sedges do well in part shade and shade.  All of the grasses and sedges below are shown by the USDA Plants Database to occur in or very near Mecklenberg County in North Carolina.

Grasses

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem) grows in sun and part shade.

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem) grows in full sun.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) grows in sun, part shade and full shade.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly) grows in full sun.

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) grows in sun and part shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) grows in sun and part shade.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) grows in sun, part shade and shade.

Sedges

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) grows in sun, part shade and shade.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) grows in sun, part shade and shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) grows in sun and part shade.

Below are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the suggestions listed above.

 

From the Image Gallery


New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Shrubby st. john's-wort
Hypericum prolificum

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

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