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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Slope stabilization and soil erosion, Acorus, Thalia, Typha latifolia, Sagittaria latifolia, Pontederia cordata, Cornus alba, Cornus stolonifera, Spiraea douglasii, Athyrium filix-femina, Lysichiton americanus, Scrophularia, Wetland plants, Carex, Native plants--Care and maintenance, Iris, Deer

We need some advice and we are hoping you can help. We would like to replant the banks of our fish pond and want to know what kinds of plants would hold a steep slope and be compatible with the fish and each other. We have a large deer and elk population and we get substantial amounts of rain. We like grass-type shrubs and we need a ground cover that will not take over and is evergreen.

Answer:

From the research I have done, it seems that a pond with a sloping side is a very good idea, but if erosion is a serious issue, you may want to think about both plants and physical controls such as coconut fiber matting to stabilize the banks. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's guide (1997), The Natural Water Garden, has a description of using coconut fiber tubes (also called biologs) laid horizontally along a bank, which can also be used as a secure planting medium for seedlings.

As far as deer-resistant plants which may work for your site, iris and spiraea appear to be unappealing to deer, so you might want to try some of the irises which prefer moist situations, such as Iris laevigata, and Iris versicolor (blue flag), as well as Spiraea douglasii (hardhack).

Other plants which may help with preventing erosion are Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage), Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern), Carex obnupta (sedge), and Cornus stolonifera (red osier dogwood) or C. alba (red twig dogwood).

Some grassy or reedy plants which do well as marginal (water's edge) plants include Acorus calamus 'Variegatus' (variegated sweet flag), Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed), Sagittaria latifolia (American arrowhead), and Typha latifolia (cattail). All of these are deciduous.

For evergreen plants, you could try Scrophularia auriculata 'Variegata' (water figwort), an evergreen perennial with cream-edged foliage. The flowers should be deadheaded to prevent self-seeding. Thalia dealbata (hardy canna) is evergreen, with long-stalked blue-green leaves and violet flower spikes.

Date 2017-04-19
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Native Trees of Western Washington by Kevin Zobrist, 2014

Reviewed by: Brian Thompson on 2015-10-01

“Native Trees of Western Washington” is accurately described in the sub-title as “A Photographic Guide” to trees that can be found west of the Cascade Crest. Each entry has several photos, and include close-ups of all the parts you will need to help with identification.

The author, Kevin Zobrist, is an associate professor of Extension Forestry for Washington State University but grew up and is based in western Washington, and is a Husky by schooling. He leads the WSU extension program in Forestry for the counties of the northern Puget Sound.

While the forestry background is evident in his descriptions of habitats and growth characteristics, his descriptions are well-rounded and engaging. An example is his interest in the production of syrup from bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum): “…it produces an exceptional syrup that has rich maple flavor with hints of vanilla and can hold its own against anything the Northeast has to offer.”

Excerpted from the Fall 2015 Arboretum Bulletin.

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August 01 2017 12:36:01