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Best Grasses for Effective Erosion Control

by Shannon Lee, All About Lawns Columnist

Erosion is the wicked bane of homeowners who have a sloping lawn. It seems no matter what you do, topsoil continues to wash away, leaving barren spots and unsightly messes on the land below. Retaining walls can help, and so can careful landscaping. But if those are not options for you, consider planing grasses that are naturally resistant to erosion.

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Erosion Control: Which Grasses Are Best?

The key to good erosion control with grasses is not to plant the same kind of grass throughout the slope, but to change up the varieties so that you have many kinds in one area. This works well because each type of grass has a different root depth, and that can help prevent erosion more effectively than grasses that just dip their roots down a few inches.

Try a mixture of these stiff grasses to help prevent lawn erosion:

  • Ornamental silvergrass
  • Vetiver hedge grasses
  • Switchgrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Bermuda grass

In addition to these grasses, consider planting deep-rooted shrubs, flowers, and ornamental trees in the area of erosion. Be careful not to plant trees that cast a great deal of shade, however, as this makes it difficult for the helpful grasses to grow.

A Final Tip on Erosion Control

Erosion mats placed over newly seeded areas can help prevent the seeds and the topsoil from washing away. These mats can protect the area until the seeds are germinated, and then their quick-growing roots can do the erosion control themselves.

If nothing works for your erosion problem, consider serious landscaping to route water away from the slopes, or to build up the slopes so that water runoff isn't such a damaging issue.


About the Author
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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