What Are the Best Softscape Plants for Erosion Control?

Plants with deep root systems, such as grasses and ground covers, help prevent soil erosion in softscape designs. 

 

Selecting the right softscape plants for erosion control is crucial in stabilizing soil, preventing runoff, and maintaining the integrity of landscapes. Here are some of the best softscape plants for erosion control: 

 

**1. Groundcovers:** 

   - **Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis):** This low-growing evergreen shrub forms a dense mat, providing excellent ground cover for erosion-prone areas. 

   - **Vinca (Vinca minor):** Also known as periwinkle, vinca is a trailing ground cover with dense foliage that helps control erosion on slopes. 

 

**2. Grasses and Sedges:** 

   - **Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum):** Native switchgrass has deep roots that help stabilize soil and prevent erosion. 

   - **Slope Sedge (Carex laxiculmis):** This grass-like plant is effective for erosion control on slopes and thrives in various soil types. 

 

**3. Shrubs and Bushes:** 

   - **Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alatus):** The compact growth of this deciduous shrub helps control erosion, especially on slopes. 

   - **Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'):** Similar to winged euonymus, the compact variety is suitable for erosion-prone areas. 

 

**4. Native Plants:** 

   - **Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides):** Native to North America, buffalo grass has deep roots and is effective in erosion control. 

   - **Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana):** A native evergreen tree with a spreading root system that stabilizes soil. 

 

**5. Ferns:** 

   - **Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina):** Ferns, with their fibrous root systems, are effective in preventing soil erosion, especially in shaded areas. 

 

**6. Willow (Salix spp.):** 

   - **Basket Willow (Salix viminalis):** Willows are known for their robust root systems that provide excellent erosion control, especially near water bodies. 

 

**7. Wildflowers:** 

   - **Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta):** These native wildflowers have deep roots and are effective for stabilizing soil on slopes. 

   - **Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.):** Coreopsis varieties, such as lanceleaf coreopsis, are drought-tolerant and suitable for erosion-prone areas. 

 

**8. Mat-Forming Plants:** 

   - **Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata):** This mat-forming perennial is excellent for ground cover on slopes and rocky areas. 

   - **Woolly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus):** A low-growing thyme variety that forms a dense mat and helps control erosion. 

 

**9. Roses:** 

   - **Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa):** These hardy roses are effective in erosion control due to their dense growth and spreading habit. 

 

**10. Alpine Plants:** 

    - **Alpine Aster (Oreostemma alpigenum):** Alpine plants, adapted to harsh conditions, are often suitable for erosion-prone slopes. 

 

**11. Beachgrass (Ammophila spp.):** 

    - **American Beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata):** Widely used for stabilizing coastal dunes, beachgrass has a deep root system that helps control erosion. 

 

**12. Bamboo:** 

    - **Clumping Bamboo (Fargesia spp.):** Clumping bamboo varieties with non-invasive growth habits can be used for erosion control, especially on slopes. 

 

**13. Sedums:** 

    - **Stonecrop (Sedum spp.):** Sedums are succulent plants that form dense ground covers and are effective in preventing soil erosion. 

 

**14. Perennial Grasses:** 

    - **Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca):** This ornamental grass has a compact growth habit and is suitable for erosion control in landscaping. 

 

**15. Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides):** 

    - Vetiver grass has deep roots and is known for its erosion-control properties, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. 

 

When selecting softscape plants for erosion control, consider the specific conditions of the site, including soil type, sunlight exposure, and water availability. A mix of plant types, including groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, and trees, can create a comprehensive erosion control strategy for different landscapes.