The Q&A Archives: Is Forsythia A Good Plant To Use To Stop Soil Erosion

Question: We recently moved 100 tons of topsoil to bring up our back yard to level. We need to plant something along the 120 ft to hold the soil in place that is low maintenance. It receives full sun exposure & it clay like soil. We were told that Forsythia would root nicely & keep it together. We were also told that there are different types of Forsthia; weeping, Lynwood gold etc. Could these be planted together?

Answer: Without actually seeing the situation it is difficult to make a recommendation but in gneral forsythia is a tough, low maintenance plant; it is also relatively inexpensive. Once established it will grow quickly and often makes a thicket of sorts because it spreads both from the base of the plant and occasionally branches which touch the ground also root to form new plants. Forsythia suspensa (Weeping Forsythia) in particular trails and is often used on banks because branches take root where it touches the ground. "Lynwood Gold" is another form of forsythia, in this case a named variety of Forsythia intermedia which tends to be more upright and does not spread as much. The named varieties are selected for specific characteristics such as flower bud hardiness or ultimate size or size and shade of flower color. Depending on the variety you plant, they may grow anywhere in a range of sizes from about 8 foot tall and wide to 10 or 12 feet high and across. While you certainly can plant them all mixed together, the most pleasing visual effect is usually achieved by planting a sweep of all the same kind so that they bloom at the same time in the same shade of yellow. Intermixing them can result in a "spotty" look.

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