Reducing Soil Erosion: Using Vegetation For Erosion Control

Updated: Aug 1


Soil erosion control through use of grass vegetative filter strips

It's no secret that erosion is a battle that many land and property owners have to contend with every year. Soil erosion is a problem that costs people billions of dollars each year around the world.


One of the downsides of urban building projects and heavy vehicle traffic combined with natural weather events is erosion can become accelerated and ultimately result in a loss of topsoil.


A proven way to tackle soil erosion is by using vegetation for erosion control. There are many different types of vegetation and add-on solutions you can use to create a permanent method of reducing and even stopping soil erosion.


How Can Vegetation Help Reduce Soil Erosion?


The main factors that cause soil erosion are wind and water. Of course, other things can cause or even accelerate soil erosion, such as physical soil disturbance and overworked soil.


When soil becomes lifeless and lackluster, it can easily get transferred to another area via wind or rain.


Well rooted vegetation is excellent at reducing soil erosion. Their effects become greatly enhanced when they are combined with Flexamat.


Plants can diminish and stop soil erosion by conserving topsoil, preventing them from shifting elsewhere via wind or water. Plus, plants work well in both large, open areas and smaller settings.


Which Plants Should You Consider?


The following examples are plants that could be incorporated for reducing soil erosion on your land:


Creeping Junipers


Creeping junipers are plants that are great for covering a lot of ground, and they thrive in direct sunlight. They are short plants, growing no taller than one foot, and they are also tolerant to the cold.


An added bonus of creeping junipers is they offer year-round color to any open space. There are several varieties of creeping junipers that you could consider; some have different colored foliage, while others are shorter than average.


Vinca Minor (Periwinkle)


Another plant that's perfect for soil erosion control and spreads across the ground like creeping junipers is Vinca Minor, also known as Periwinkle. It's shorter than creeping junipers at three to six inches tall, making it perfect for avoiding the use of really tall plants.

If you need to manage soil erosion in places prone to droughts, Vinca Minor is the best choice for you.


Forsythia


If you're dealing with extreme cases of soil erosion, you will likely want a plant-based solution that delivers results fast. In such cases, it would be better to consider shrubs like Forsythia instead of perennials that cover the ground.


Forsythia boasts bigger and more resilient roots, and they can form complex root systems that help retain the topsoil and subsequently stop soil erosion in its tracks.


Japanese Spurge


Japanese Spurge, also known as Pachysandra terminalis, is a short plant that grows at just six inches. It's an evergreen that provides ample ground cover and is often thought of as a foliage plant more than anything else.


Japanese Spurge produce very small, white flowers. Japanese Spurge has excellent soil retention properties.


Spotted Dead Nettle


Spotted Dead Nettle or Lamium maculatum is just as hardy and aesthetically pleasing as Japanese Spurge. However, it has the added advantage of producing white, pink, or purple flowers.


Another reason to consider Spotted Dead Nettle is that it's a one-foot-tall perennial that will thrive in the shade as well as in direct sunlight. That means you can use it in mostly shaded areas, for example.


Creeping Phlox


If you are considering plants that produce stunning colors in bloom, you need to look at Creeping Phlox.


Creeping Phlox produces a magnificent display of bright, colorful flowers. The plant itself only grows around six inches tall, and it's a creeping plant, so it can cover vast open spaces with ease.


Interrupted Fern


Another you might want to consider Osmunda claytoniana or Interrupted Fern.


They grow about two to three feet tall, can naturally spread across large open areas, and, of course, they're excellent at retaining soil. Interrupted Fern is perfect for damp hillsides and slopes as it's tolerant of wet soil.


Can You Use Grass For Soil Erosion?


It's not just plants or flowering plants that you can use as part of your efforts to diminish and eradicate soil erosion. For several reasons, it can often make sense to use native grass plants, such as Timothy Grass and Foxtail.


Firstly, grasses will fit into any habitat. Secondly, you don't need to maintain grass as much as other plants. Lastly, you can easily find the perfect variety for your soil and weather conditions.


How Flexamat Can Work With Plants


Plants and grasses do a great job on their own at tackling soil erosion. However, in many applications, the hydraulic conditions are so intense vegetation alone cannot stop the erosion. Flexamat combined with vegetation growth provides the robust erosion control solution for these intense applications


Flexamat and vegetation are the best permanent solution for tackling soil erosion.