Is it sunny or shady?
Alfalfa has a deep root system, so does crown vetch (both legumes) and so does fescue, a grass.
You might look through gardening catalogs for plants listed as ground covers.
Any kind of cover would be better than bare ground.
Call your County Extension office. You're doing a lot of work on that place, and if you're trying to re-create a riparian border for the stream, you'll want to make sure it's a year-round planting, not a seasonal one. The native legumes would be a good place to start, as Clover said. Some kind of mix would probably be best in the long run, native stuff that won't interfere with the stream later down the road, and maybe even something that provides wildlife food/cover.
I hope you're taking before and after pictures of all you're doing!
I have been working as a summer temp. for my local county weed department.
I highly recommend that you skip considering crown vetch as a ground holding plant.
We are seeing it hybridize naturally and become downright invasive. The roadside ditch plantings are beginning to invade adjoining pastures, cropland, and conservation reserve program land. It smothers all other vegetation.
Information now recommends that people ask their state highway departments to NOT plant crown vetch as a roadside plant. This means that it is becoming a problem elsewhere as well as locally.
Here, up until about two years ago, it was considered a good soil holding plant, no longer.
Here in Michigan we used a grass called Bent Grass along part of our rather steep banked stream. It is quite lovely and hold up under flood waters and strong currents. It was a bit pricy, the seed, but we planted it 15 years ago and it has spread slowly down the stream at the water's edge especially and has cut down on the erosion, except in a couple of high traffic deer trails.
KUDZU! :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: Seriously, rye grass makes a wonderful sod for steep banks, dams, etc. Seed it down, and cover with straw until it gets started. It will form a great thatch, and can be mown if you wish. Climbing Hydrangia also makes a good bank holder---it starts taking off in the second year. It ADORES shade! It makes a beautiful accent plant, and will cover quite a large area. However, it's much easier to keep in bounds than kudzu (snicker, snicker) Gotta love that stuff!
You might want to look at other spots in your area that have similar characteristics. See what grows there naturally; Mother Nature usually knows what's best. You might even find a few seed heads or pods that you could take home; natural and free.
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