10 Best Grass For Erosion Control In Your Slope Garden

Having a slope or hillside garden can be a captivating house appeal. However, such an exterior design is prone to erosion due to rainwater scouring or the watering process. Consequently, your garden soil will lose many essential mineral elements beneficial to the plants that grow on it. Therefore, it is recommended to have good management practices to control erosion, like growing grasses that have dense root mass. For that reason, we have compiled the best grass for erosion control that effectively blanketing the soil.

They not only prevent soil erosion, but most of them can also decorate your plants with their tough foliage. Even more remarkable, some also feature eye-catching colors you can easily match with other plants or flowers in your yard.

Wanna try to include them to stop erosion in your sloped yard? Find out details in the following section!

What Is Erosion Control?

As the name suggests, erosion control is a method or management practice that is carried out to prevent runoff due to water or wind scouring.

This method is crucial for application in areas prone to erosion, such as coastal areas, river banks, agricultural lands, hillsides, mountains, and land development.

Erosion control also prevents pollution and sedimentation of rivers due to water flow that carries soil and sand to the stream. For agriculture, farmers usually apply manure and mulch to stop soil erosion.

Meanwhile, gardeners prefer to grow lawn grass, turfgrass, or ornamental grass with fibrous roots since they can bind the soil to avoid being flushed away by water.

Can Grass Slow Down Erosion?

Even though it doesn’t look promising, it turns out that planting grass is a very effective, long-term erosion control you can try.

The robust root system of the grass ensures a strong binding on the soil, which of course, helps reduce erosion. Besides that, the deep roots also optimally conserve water from the rain. And thus, increasing the volume of groundwater.

Some grasses that you can try growing in your garden include ryegrass, bermuda grass, blue fescue grass, and mondo grass. For the tall grass, you can plant big blue stems.

In addition to preventing soil erosion, planting grass have other benefits:

  • Adds greenery to your outdoor space.
  • Provide a flat ground for your kids and/or pets to safely run around.
  • Reduce noise due to dense foliage.
  • Provide cool atmosphere to your garden.
  • Offer a stunning visual for your outdoor space.

Best Grass for Erosion Control

If you are looking for the best grass for erosion control, you better look at our list below. The grass provides the best protection for your garden soil and offers greenery in the area. Check it out below!

1. Annual Ryegrass (Lolium Multiflorum)

Lolium multiflorum, better known as Annual Ryegrass or Italian Ryegrass, is one of the grass types you can grow for erosion control. This native European grass has a long, stiff leaf, growing about 2 to 3 feet. They are also glossy and bright, featuring a green shade to cover your garden soil.

Even cooler, Annual Ryegrass is cold and hardy. So, they won’t bother you with extra care during winter.

Moreover, the roots grow densely, with many branches that can expand to the surroundings. Thus, helping your soil to stay intact despite having runoff from the rain.

best grass for erosion control
Annual Ryegrass (Lolium Multiflorum)

In addition, they are also easy to grow anywhere as they thrive in the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. You only need to dig at least 20 mm holes to sow the seeds. Make sure you have sandy loam soil with moist and well-drained conditions to allow the best growth.

Nonetheless, they can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including poor, rocky soil. Plus, the best time to plant this cool-season grass is fall or early winter, when the temperatures drop around 50°F to 65°F.

2. Bahiagrass (Paspalum Notatum)

You may be familiar with Bahiagrass or Paspalum notatum because it naturally grows on roadsides or highways. Bahiagrass has a deep root system that grows extensively, reaching 2 to 3 meters down the soil. Hence, it makes a great choice for erosion control.

Since bahiagrass has excellent tolerance to extreme drought, this grass type is often an indicator of drought in an area. Not only that, but the erosion preventing plant is also relatively resistant to pests and diseases.

Thus, growing them in your yard is not a tricky task to do. In addition, farmers also often grow this grass in their fields because it has an excellent quality for grass-fed livestock.

best grass for erosion control
Bahiagrass (Paspalum Notatum)

Although it tolerates heat and drought, the Bahiagrass growing area must be moist and well-drained. Such conditions match perfectly with the South and Gulf coast areas. You can also grow them in the USDA hardiness zones 7 to 11.

These regions have a temperature range of around 70°F – 80°F which the grass likes. They also love acidic soils with a pH range of about 5.5 to 6.5. If you are interested in this grass, you can plant it in spring to have dense growth in summer.

3. Bermuda Grass (Cynodon Dactylon)

Characterized with deep fibrous roots, Bermudagrass or Cynodon dactylon becomes the best grass for hillsides. The roots can hold the soil and thus prevent erosion in the slope area. In this warm season, green grass has medium coarse texture leaves that are often grown for lawn gardens.

They spread by stolons or rhizomes quickly, allowing you to have quick erosion control for your yard. Besides, they are easy to care for. Hence, maintenance is a relatively easy deal.

best grass for erosion control
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon Dactylon)

To achieve its best performance, you should grow them in the USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10, where the winter is mild. However, some cultivars can cope with the harsh winters of zones 5 and 6. They also need air temperatures of approximately 95°F to 100°F to grow properly.

And for the best shoots, rhizomes, and stolons development, the soil temperature must be within 65°F. Bermudagrass also favors full sun and slightly acidic, well-drained soil to thrive. Similar to Bahiagrass, spring is the ideal season to grow this grass.

4. Big Bluestem (Andropogon Gerardii)

If you prefer tall instead of short grass to grow as erosion control in your area, then a big bluestem is easy for you to pick. This warm-season grass is among the top lists of the best grass to prevent runoff, especially in hilly sites.

They grow densely, bearing a light to dark green color, which later turns brownish as they age. The texture of coarse leaves hanging on the tall stalks reached about 6 to 8 feet tall.

As for the roots, big bluestem grass can grow deep into 1.8 to 3 meters, bearing robust rhizomes that allow strong sod development to control erosion.

best grass for erosion control
Big Bluestem (Andropogon Gerardii)

You can plant them in a prairie garden to have a coastal-like setting. However, ensure your home is within USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9 to keep the grass thriving. To sow the grass seed, you will require a soil temperature of around 50°F.

Like the grass that loves warm weather, Big Bluestem loves to grow under full sun exposure and sandy loam, well-drained soil.

In case you are interested in planting this grass, try it in late winter or spring when the ground gets warmer.

5. Big Blue Lilyturf (Liriope Muscari)

So far, we know that grass rarely has flowers. Usually, they show off the green leaves with long or short stalks. However, Big Blue Lilyturf or Liriope muscari displays long clusters of tiny purple flowers that look stunning amidst the greenery.

In addition to its attractive appearance, this perennial grass can prevent erosion on banks, rivers, and hillside areas, thanks to its vigorous roots. Besides, the robust rhizomes spread rapidly to cover a wide area.

Thus, it can effectively protect your soil from erosion, especially for slope gardens. The grass also suppresses weed growth, often becoming a troublemaker in the garden.

best grass for erosion control
Big Blue Lilyturf (Liriope Muscari)

Fortunately, this stunning grass is not fussy about the soil types. It tolerates sandy and clay soils, two kinds of soil that plants usually don’t like. However, the pH range must be between 6 to 7 with fertile and well-drained soil conditions.

The growing areas cover USDA hardiness zones 5 to 10, where the winter temperature stays above -4°F. You can plant them in spring, summer, or fall. Winter is not recommended for planting this grass as the soil temperature is freezing.

6. Blue Fescue Grass (Festuca Glauca)

Festuca glauca, or Blue Fescue Grass, is a favorite feature in a garden thanks to its exotic mixture of blue, silver, and gray foliage tones. They grow in small clumps, which makes them easy to incorporate with other plants. Their sizes also allow you to cover the exposed topsoil.

People usually grow them on top of gravel along the garden path or as borders. But little did they know that blue fescue grass also works great as an erosion control plant due to its fibrous root and fast spreading habit.

Moreover, their broad clumps help to circulate water over a wider area. Thus, preventing erosion pretty well.

best grass for erosion control
Blue Fescue Grass (Festuca Glauca)

As for the growing conditions, they need temperatures around 68°F to 77°F to grow properly. Considering the temperatures, the best season to plant them is spring and fall. Despite being a cool-season grass, it can cope well with dry and hot weather.

In addition, you must prepare an area full of sun exposure and moderately fertile soil to grow Blue Fescue Grass. In case you have poor soil, they will effortlessly tolerate it.

This semi-evergreen grass thrives in the USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.

7. Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua Dactyloides)

Contrary to its popular name, Buffalo grass or Bouteloua dactyloides is a low-growing grass that grows densely. This warm-season perennial features bright green leaves around 8 to 10 inches high.

Due to its growing habit, Buffalo grass is a favorite for establishing new lawns in a garden. Buffalo grass also grow fast with solid roots, so you can use them as one of the best prevention for soil erosion.

Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua Dactyloides)
Source: Pinterest (@Hoffman Nursery)

You can plant them in spring or summer. However, wait until the soil is slightly warm, at least around 55°F. Meanwhile, 110°F is recommended to stimulate fast germination.

Even though it looks trivial, planting them in a proper season is crucial to allow optimal root development.

Moreover, they thrive best in the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9, which almost cover all of North America. Ensure they get at least 6 hours of sun exposure for the light intensity. The soil also must be well-drained as the wet ground can trigger root rot.

8. Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus)

Similar to Blue Fescue Grass, Mondo Grass or Ophiopogon also grows in small clumps. It’s just that the leaves are dark green with glossy surfaces. Thanks to these features, they make amazing ground covers for home gardens. People usually grow them among stones.

Most also plant along the garden path to decorate the area. Even cooler, they don’t need mowing as they slowly grow.

So, you can just let them develop on the site. Mondo grass also have tuberous, vigorous root systems and stolons that allow them to spread underground. Hence, they can be an option to prevent erosion in your yard.

Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus)
Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus)

Unlike most grasses that thrive well in full sun, Mondo grass prefers shade conditions to fully blossom. The excessive sun will burn the tips, leaving brown and crisp leaves. Given that they grow in the USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10, they favor growing temperatures between 60°F to 70°F, which is typical for spring and summer weather.

However, it tolerates temperatures down to -10°F and the highest up to 90°F. You can grow them on slopes to adorn the site and prevent erosion.

9. Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua Curtipendula)

Despite bearing ‘oats’ on its common name, Bouteloua curtipendula or Sideoats Grama has no relation to the grain. It is a sod-forming grass that features stunning oat-like, purple spikelets on the 2 to 3-foot stems.

Those spikelets will show off their full potential when they turn brownish tan in the fall. Apart from being beautiful, people grow them as erosion control and livestock grass. Wild, grass-eating animals also love to devour this grass.

Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua Curtipendula)
Source: Pinterest (@Etsy)

Luckily, they are easy to grow and maintain. They need around 50°F – 86°F to boost germination. However, it can withstand extremely low temperatures, down to -30°F to 25°F. As for the soil types and conditions, sideoats grama favor sandy loam, dry, well-drained soil where the robust roots can hold the ground well.

If you want to grow them exquisitely, make sure you live in the USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. Plant them between spring and early summer to have a view in the fall.

10. Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon Zizanioides)

Chrysopogon zizanioides or Vetiver grass can grow up to 5 feet tall. Hence, no wonder they belong to large grasses. Its long, emerging stems bear fluffy brown-purple spikelets. The grass grows naturally on the riverbanks, spreading and growing 3-meter roots down the ground.

Thus, vetiver grass make an excellent erosion control plant that firmly grasps the soil. You can allow them to grow next to your garden ponds to prevent erosion of the surrounding soil.

Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon Zizanioides)
Source: Pinterest (@Jardineiro.net)

Furthermore, this versatile grass belongs to easy-to-grow plants. They thrive in any soil type, including those with high concentrations of saline, acids, and even heavy metals. Not only that, but Vetiver grass also survives floods, drought, and extreme temperatures of around -15°F to 55°F.

However, this fast-growing grass performs optimally in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, where the temperatures range between 55°F to 77°F. The best months to plant the grass are around August to April for the subtropical areas.

Meanwhile, those who live in tropical climates can grow them all year round.

Final Thought

The grass is not only beautiful to plant in your garden. In fact, some can also prevent soil erosion which is detrimental to your plants and soil. The solid, deep, and robust root system is the reason why these grasses have an excellent performance in binding the soils.

If you are concerned with aesthetic values, try planting blue fescue grass or mondo grass, as they make an awesome appeal for your garden path. The rests are beautiful, yet you must find ample space for their tall sizes.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why are grasses used for erosion control?

Even though they don’t grow as big as shade trees, it turns out that growing grasses is an excellent way to prevent erosion. They have root systems that spread fast and deep.

Besides, the roots are vigorous, so they can help hold the ground and stabilize them when the water tries to flush them away. You can plant the best grass for erosion control in your gardens, such as tall fescue grass, Bahia grass, buffalo grass, and mondo grass.

Does turf grass prevent erosion?

Turf grass belongs to deep-rooted grasses that have robust root systems. Therefore, it’s not surprising that turf grass can be one of the recommended grasses for erosion control.

In fact, one study in 1986 stated that turfgrass sod was more effective at displacing water flow than seed-established grasses. Their solid roots can grasp the ground tightly.

Thus, you don’t have to worry about your soil garden being eroded by water during the watering process or when heavy rains come.

Is Clover good for erosion control?

Growing clover in your garden provides many benefits. Besides adding greenery to your outdoor space, clover is one of the grasses for erosion control on slopes. Their roots can hold the soil and prevent it from flushing away due to heavy rain. They also grow quickly, deeply, and vigorously, firmly grasping the ground.

In addition, clover is also known to improve soil health by fixing nitrogen. Moreover, clover is also low-maintenance. So, you can easily care for them.

What is the best grass for a bank?

Native grasses are an excellent choice for erosion control. One that you can try planting is Buffalo grass or Bouteloua dactyloides. This grass is bluish green, which will look stunning in your garden. It also copes well with arid conditions and cold weather.

Thus, you don’t have to worry about its growth. In addition, Buffalo grass performs best in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. Hence, make sure you live within the area.

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