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

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Saturday - May 11, 2013

From: Northwood, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?

ANSWER:

There are plenty of native shrubs and a few vines that are good potential plants for your steep slope. The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: New Hampshire, Habit – vine and shrub, Duration – perennial, Light requirement – sun, and Soil moisture – dry (because of the slope).
Some of the more drought and sun tolerant vine and shrub possibilities that could be used as steep slope groundcover plants include:
Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles) fine-textured vine to 15 ft. A profusion of small white flowers in summer followed by a plume-like feathery achene.

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark) rounded shrub to 10 ft, white clusters of blooms, yellow fall color.

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) spreading shrub to 12 ft. Vibrant fall color, dark red berries that persist into winter.

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) colony forming to 20 ft. Bright red berries in clusters that persist into winter.

Rosa acicularis (prickly rose) shrub up to 4 ft. Whitish-pink blooms June-July, smooth red hips follow.

Rosa blanda (smooth rose) nearly thornless, pale pink to white blooms June –August , spreads vigorously by root suckers.
Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (grayleaf red raspberry) 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide, produces edible red fruit.

Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry) forms broad colonies, black edible fruit.

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry) to 5 ft tall, small pinkish-white blooms are followed by round white fruit.

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum) to 6 ft tall and 4 ft wide, clusters of white flowers are followed by blue-black berried.  

 

From the Image Gallery


Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Common ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Prickly rose
Rosa acicularis

Smooth rose
Rosa blanda

Grayleaf red raspberry
Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

Black raspberry
Rubus occidentalis

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

Mapleleaf viburnum
Viburnum acerifolium

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