The Q&A Archives: Plants for erosion control

Question: Who/what eats the berries on the the Parney's Red Clusterberry?
Do they stain? Are they poisonous to people?
We have planted some Parneys are thinking about more. We have also planted some Laural, swordfern, Crocosimia, Vinca Minor and a few Rhodies and azaleas.
The hill is so steep that anything we plant must be mostly maintenance free. If we stake down the Parney branches will they spread?

Answer: Cotoneaster parneyi is also called Parney Cotoneaster, or Red Clusterberry. Birds of all descriptions love the berries, which are persistent throughout the winter months. The berries are pulpy, not juicy, and I've never seen them stain the sidewalk. The berries are not edible, but are not considered poisonous. However, eating anything that's not considered edible can make you ill. This cotoneaster spreads wider than it will become tall and if you anchor the branches down and cover them will soil, they will root. For faster results, nick the underside of the stem where it makes contact with the soil and it will root more quickly. Best wishes with your hillside planting.

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