Stabilizing Slopes

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Henderson County is blessed with great topography. We have mountains and hills which provide views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, once a person obtains their dream mountain home, they often discover that they have erosion problems.

slope

If your eroding slopes are too steep you will have to hire someone to grade the slope so that it is not so steep. If you are lucky and your banks are not too steep, then you have several good options for stabilizing the slope.

Before we talk about what to do, let’s mention what not to do. Please, avoid invasive plants such as English ivy, vinca, Asiatic jasmine, etc.!!! Most people who plant invasive plants live to regret the choice as the plants take over their property.

ivy kills trees

Stabilizing the soil as quickly as possible is critical. You should cover the slope with natural jute ground fabric. Cover the soil as soon as possible to stop current erosion. This natural fabric will cover the ground and stabilize soil. Use metal staples or wooden stakes to hold the fabric.

grassy swale

You have several options for plants. One is covering the slope with creeping red fescue. This grass does not requiring mowing. This is a great option for steep slopes. Plant the seed BEFORE you put the jute cloth ground cover.

natural landscape

If grassy meadows is not your thing, perhaps you could do a mixed planting of woody plants. The other plant option is a mix of native trees, shrubs, grasses, ground covers, and perennial flowers. Cover the fabric with 3 inches of shredded mulch. Free wood chips are good too.

wildflowers

Wildflower meadows are a great way to cover larger areas of ground. Eden Brothers Seeds on Hwy 191 just north of Mills River sells seeds at a great price. I recommend their southern wildflower mix. You can also order it online at their website.

mountain garden

If your planting area will be in shade once the trees leaf out (if you see moss this indicates shade). Use a mix of shade-loving native trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants.

Suggested native plants for slopes :

  • Native trees –  dogwood, service berry, redbud
  • Native shrubs  –  rhododendron, mountain laurel luecothoe, itea, fothergilla, winterberry, etc.
  • Native grasses  – bluestem, pink muhly, lovegrass, etc.
  • Native groundcover – creeping phlox.