The Q&A Archives: Shrubs To Control Erosion

Question: The lawn in back of our house slopes steeply and has a serious erosion problem, with clumps of grass surrounded by bare patches of soil. The grass has been invaded by a weed with yellow flowers, which seems to provide less protection against erosion than grass would. We want to plant something--probably shrubs--that will control the erosion, look attractive and be reasonably low maintenance. The area is wet for much of the fall and spring, although it dries out in the summer, and it is shaded by tall trees for part of the day. What shrubs would be reasonably priced, quick-growing, and suitable for this purpose? Where could we obtain them, and could we plant them ourselves or would we need to consult a landscaper? Thanks for your advice.

Answer: In some cases, an erosion problem is serious enough to warrant professional attention including regrading and redesigning the site drainage pattern. Based on your description, I would strongly suggest that you consult with a landscape architect or other professional with formal training in controlling runoff prior to attempting to plant the slope -- planting activity could possibly adversely affect the stability of the slope.

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