Reducing Soil Erosion: Using Plants For Erosion Control

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

Erosion can lead to all kinds of issues that further complicate and exacerbate the problem.

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 plants for erosion control. You may not realize it, but there are many different types of plants and add-on solutions you can use to create a permanent method of reducing and even stopping soil erosion.

How Can Plants 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.

You may not know it, but vegetation such as plants is excellent at reducing soil erosion. Their effects become greatly enhanced when they work with other erosion control solutions like Flexamat.

Plants can diminish and stop soil erosion by conserving topsoils, 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?

If you've got a soil erosion problem, it's worth keeping in mind that you can't use any random plants and hope for the best. As you can appreciate, certain plant species are more resilient to the elements than others and thus are likely to do a better job at protecting the topsoil.

The following examples are plants that you should consider 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're short plants, growing no taller than one foot, and crucially they're 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.


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.

Having said that, Japanese Spurge does produce very small, white flowers. As with the other plants listed on this page, 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're considering plants that produce stunning colors in bloom, you need to look at Creeping Phlox or Phlox subulata to give it its official name.

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

If you prefer to try some wilder plants as part of your soil erosion control strategy, 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, it makes sense to enhance your efforts further and create the ultimate soil erosion solution with Flexamat.

It's an articulated concrete block mat that is flexible and easy to lay. The product alone does a fantastic job of stopping soil erosion, but what's also great about it is there are gaps between each concrete block for vegetation to grow.

Flexamat and plants make perfect partners for tackling soil erosion. Plants are undoubtedly excellent ways to slow down and even stop soil erosion. When used with Flexamat, you'll end up with a solution that achieves superior results.