10 Plants to Fight Erosion

Don’t let this warm weather fool you! The El Niño storm season has begun and forecasters are predicting more storms through April. If storms roll through, we can anticipate flooding, mudslides and property damage. Don’t sound the alarm just yet, though. Now is the perfect time to take action. (Plus, storms or not, putting the RIGHT plants in the ground helps cool our environment and beautify our neighborhoods!)

After you’ve assessed your property and installed rain tanks or barrels to divert water away from slopes, it’s time to plant! Including a variety of native plants–groundcovers, shrubs, trees that require low-water–and mulch on your slope will help your land minimize the impact of erosion.

Not sure what to plant? Here are a few of our favorites!


1. Salvia sonomensis (creeping sage) :  This fragrant sage sprouts blue-violet flowers during the early summer months, and is a great pick to attract birds.


2. Artemisia californica Canyon Gray (canyon grey) : This shrub actually makes a great groundcover. Perfect for residents who live by the coast!


3. Baccharis pilularis pilularis (pigeon point) : One benefit of native plants is their ability to attract wildlife–and this shrub is no exception! Plant this and expect to meet some new critter friends.


4. Ceanothus griseus horizontalis (yankee point) : Plant this evergreen shrub and expect to be welcomed with lovely blue flowers throughout spring!


5. Atriplex lentiformis breweri (quail bush) : Edible, evergreen and does well in poor soil. Plus, quail and other birds feed on its seeds!


6. Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) : With the proper care, this shrub can grow as tall as 20 feet! It prefers full sun and is relatively fire resistant.


7. Rhus integrifolia (lemonade berry) : We’re not kidding! This plant’s fruit makes a great addition to lemonade.


8. Rhus ovata (sugar bush) : Sugar bush is very drought tolerant, grows big, full white flowers during the summer and can survive in a variety of locations!


9. Quercus douglasii (blue oak) : We love oaks! This tree needs very little maintenance or water.


10. Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea (Mexican elderberry) : Like to make jelly? Elderberry is a great pick for your DIY projects, and its yellow flowers will provide your yard with a fragrant aroma!

(Not sure if your yard is up to fire codes? This handy guide can help.)

Want to learn more about native plants? Attend a free workshop to learn more from experts! 


All photos used with permission of Las Pilitas Nursery.

By Erika Abdelatif

Erika Abdelatif is TreePeople’s Social Media and Digital Content Manager. When she isn't creating a climate-resilient LA via the Facebook, she's probably writing in a coffee shop, infesting the internet with memes, or watching an open mic.