All About Tree Service Gazette Digital

The Best Trees for Erosion Control

Apr 12

When it comes to soil and erosion control, the western red cedar is an ideal choice. Its dense, conical foliage helps to slow down soil erosion. Western red cedars are also tolerant of some shade and can survive winter temperatures as low as -30°F. Cascara (Frangula purshiana), also known as the cascara buckthorn, is another good choice.

Erosion Control


Willows are the best trees for erosion control, especially if they are well-suited to your site. These trees are typically planted alongside streams. Their roots are particularly effective at holding back soil and preventing erosion. Willows also serve as living fences, and their branches are used in weaving and basketry. Willows are naturally moist-loving plants and will often grow near underground pipes. However, you should be aware that their roots can damage these pipes if they aren't properly maintained.

To keep your soil free from erosion, choose a willow tree. Willows are easy to grow, but their wood is thin and brittle. For this reason, you should only plant a few varieties in your landscape. In addition, willows are attractive plants. Willows are also highly suited for wet soil. The wood is a little brittle and can be difficult to prune, but they grow quickly.

Pacific madrone

The growth rate of Pacific madrone is slow. It takes about four years for the seedlings to reach the size of six inches on average, with the average clump containing 13 seeds. The number of seedlings per clump depends on the parent tree's diameter. The tallest sprout gains an average of 0.59 feet of height for every inch of diameter. Pacific madrone seeds do not germinate in soil that is not disturbed.

The growth rate of Pacific madrone is dependent on fire damage. Its bark provides very little insulation against radiant heat, which kills the cambium on the base of the stem. Although it may survive fire, it is susceptible to secondary attacks from diseases and insects that can cause the tree to die. This makes Pacific madrone a poor choice for erosion control. It is also prone to damage caused by storms.

Grand fir

The grand fir is a versatile softwood that contributes to soil erosion control. It grows fast in moist sites, where it competes with other trees for the dominant overstory. On dry sites, however, it becomes a shade-tolerant understory and eventually becomes the dominant tree. In wetlands, it can help control erosion by acting as a buffer against other plant species. Its practical rotation length is 40 years.

The Grand fir is a monoecious tree with a well-developed taproot. The taproot grows to a depth of about one foot on dry soil, while it is absent on moist sites. The height at which the taproot develops is variable, varying from five to seven feet. At the same time, its horizontal root system is shallow compared to other conifers.

Quaking aspen

The Quaking Aspen is a versatile tree that adapts to a variety of soil conditions. Its main requirement is not permanently warm soil. It grows in zones one to six. It prefers full sun to partial shade. It has a dense, clumpy growth habit. Its widespread lateral roots and descending sinker roots make it an excellent choice for erosion control.

This tree is dioecious, producing male and female flowers on separate trees. The male flower features a stalked basal disk with six to twelve stamens. The female flower features a flattened petiole with a stigma at the tip. Quaking aspen grows to about 40 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and two to four centimeters long. They bloom from April to June and are wind-pollinated.


The sweetgum tree produces an abundance of lightweight seeds. It begins producing seed when it is between twenty and thirty years old. This tree has fair seed crops every year, but bumper crops occur every two or three years. Each seed may have fifty sound seeds, but they are dispersed mostly by wind. It has the highest rate of survival, and 96 percent of the seeds will fall within 200 feet of their release.

Sweetgum trees grow slowly but will grow quickly if the soil is moist. They grow to between sixty and seventy feet at maturity, and 120 feet in the wild. The leaves are shiny and star-shaped and are green when young, but turn yellow in the fall. Sweetgum trees can be a bit messy in managed landscapes, so ball them in the spring and burlap them before planting them.



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