Whether you need to stabilize a forgotten hillside or find a solution for slopes and elevation changes in your garden, these fantastic shrubs do it with aplomb. Ornamental and useful, these plants get the job done where mulch just won’t cut it.
Top Shrubs for Stabilizing and Erosion Control
Ash Leaf Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)
This plant offers incredible texture as well as being a great shrub for erosion control. Finely cut, ferny foliage looks amazing against broad leaf plants and pulls together heavily floral plantings. Fresh growth emerges in different colors and contrasts nicely with green mature growth. Sem ash leaf spirea is an enthusiastic spreader that is excellent for soil retention and does well with boundaries like roads or driveways. If you like the look of Sem but don’t have the space, Matcha Ball promises to be more polite for use in the garden and features the same beautiful foliage in a more compact package.
Snowberry and Coralberry (Symphoricarpos spp.)
Native snowberry is a great choice for erosion control on slopes and forms cute little berries late in the season. The arching branches make for a pleasant, natural look. Varieties like Proven Winners Proud Berry are a great option for smaller areas that could use some stability. Named for the highly ornamental berries that look almost like candy, they fruit abundantly in fall and add tons of late season interest. In the garden, the charming berries can’t be beat, and also can’t be eaten. Best fruiting in full sun but will tolerate part sun.
Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla sp.)
Dwarf bush honeysuckle is an awesome choice where soil could use some stability. This lovely native offers much more than erosion control. The graceful bronze green foliage arches upward like a fountain and is dotted with small yellow flowers that are enjoyed by bumblebees. Tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, this shrub is an excellent performer even in lower light situations (fall color will be less intense in more shade). Varieties like Kodiak Orange and Nightglow are great where a slower spreader is desired. Use the straight species Diervilla lonicera where more control is needed.
Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica “Gro-Low”)
This is the classic shrub for erosion control. Gro-Low fragrant sumac is a fast grower and is tolerant of the poor soil and dry conditions that are often present on hillsides. Gro-Low makes for a nice neutral backdrop and good filler. The the fragrant, glossy leaves and bright fall color are an added bonus.