The Q&A Archives: Erosion Control

Question: One side of our property has a steep, shady bank leading to a creek. The top of this bank has a fence dividing the lawn from the bank. The bank currently has a few young evergreen trees and some hardwoods but most of this bank is bare but good soil.

It was suggested to plant Crown Vetch as an erosion control but others have told me that it takes a long time to establish, and that once it does, it becomes invasive and will come into the yard.

What are the best options for this bank?

Thanks, Al B.

Answer: I would suggest you check with your local soil conservation office and/or county extension to see what they would recommend, especially since it is a streambank. I would not usually suggest crownvetch for a residential planting as it can spread beyond its intended space. It also needs ample sunlight to grow well. You might look into some native plants to include both shrubs such as Cornus sericea for example, and herbaceous plants such as some native ferns and maybe Allegheny spurge for example. The reason I suggest this is that roots of different depths will hold the bank better than a planting of all one plant. Good luck with your planting!

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