• Our environmental department takes a walk in the shade; chatting about shade-tolerant plants that deter soil erosion. Here we go!

On gentle or steep slopes, stabilisation of the soil must take place to prevent erosion and increase the absorption of water. The best strategy is to use a variety of plants that root at different depths, to encourage a dense web of roots to hold your soil. Mixed vegetation will absorb rainfall energy and prevent soil compaction, while the roots physically bind soil particles, which improves soil structure. Foliage from above slows the speed of run-off thereby reducing erosion and increasing absorption.


It becomes a significant problem when silt deposits interfere with driveway stability or your swimming pool. It becomes a community issue when it clogs neighbourhood drainage structures and storm drains. The nature of how a plant roots and its growth habit dictate its value as an erosion control plant. Those species with a large proportion of fine roots that spread over a large area prove the best choices for slope stabilisation.

Other benefits of using a variety of plant forms:

  • Introduction, restoration, and conservation of soil nutrients
  • Prevention of the establishment of invasive weeds
  • Creation of a habitat for wildlife
  • Improved aesthetics


In addition to growing perennial ground covers and shrubs, such that will spread and strike down roots to retain soil, consider creating terraces. Research has found that that strappy leaf plants and grasses performed the best due to their extensive and fibrous root systems.

Weeds and water run-off are also problematic on slopes which can be combatted by planting thick, vigorous, and fast growth groundcovers.

Finally, landscaping wood mulch or biodegradable landscaping mat can be used to help stabilise the banks. If using mulch, make sure it is a thick layer between 60mm to 75mm and that it is large size with few fines. This prevents weed invasion, stabilises the slope, holds in moisture and looks after your lovely new plantings.  

To find a list of plants suitable for this purpose, click here. You will find all these plants at local nurseries.

If you need more advice, feel free to contact ea@simbithi.com.