Inland lake soil erosion

Asked August 2, 2020, 4:13 PM EDT

At the waterfront edge of property are cedar trees leaning over the water. The soil is washing away at the roots. Is it better to leave the cedars leaning over the water or to cut them down? What replacement shrub or plant would help save the waterfront from erosion?

Mecosta County Michigan

1 Response

Hello,

In general, it is better to leave the cedars in place and try to plant something around them to reduce erosion. Here is a website with a plant list for shorelines (you will need to scroll down the page to find the plant lists): https://www.mishorelinepartnership.org/plants-for-inland-lakes.html

Since your shoreline is eroding it may also take a little more than just plants to secure your shoreline. Consider using other natural remedies. For example, place a coir log at the interface between the land and water - right where the shoreline is eroding. Here's another website that will help generate ideas: https://www.mishorelinepartnership.org/shoreline-erosion-control.html

Note working in the lake will require a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Also, a side note: If the cedar trees falls in and there is no navigation/safety problem, consider leaving it in the water. Fallen trees protect the shoreline by absorbing wave energy. Fallen trees also provide excellent fish habitat.

If you would like to discuss your shoreline further, feel free to contact me. elgineri@msu.edu.