According to the University of California, approximately 75 billion tons of fertile topsoil is lost yearly to erosion. Erosion is the shifting of dust particles due to wind or water. One of the best methods of reducing soil erosion is to plant vegetation such as shrubs on the soil. The roots of vegetation help to hold soil in place so that it cannot be carried away by wind or water action.
Sagebrush is a plant native to the American southwest. The shrub grows erect with a branching habit and a round shape. It may reach up to 16 feet tall. Sagebrush produces dense clusters of small flowers in late summer and early fall. Sagebrush leaves are flat and greenish gray in color. They are shaped like spatulas with tiny hairs on them. Leaves are produced in alternating patterns on round twigs. Sage produces two sets of leaves. One set appears in spring and then next in fall. Each set is pushed off of the shrub by the next set.
Rabbitbrush is a distant cousin to sagebrush that grows as mountainous shrub between elevations of 5000 to 9000 feet. The shrub may grow in a rounded shape and reach dimensions between 2 and 6 feet wide and 2 and 4 feet tall. Leaves are a silvery blue green and threadlike. Rabbitbrush produces yellow flowers in round clusters with flat tops in late summer. In winter, rabbitbrush produces fluffy seed clusters.
Snowberry is a mountainous shrub occurring between 4,800 and 10,500 feet. Growth is semi-erect or trialing. The shrub may only grow 2 feet in height, but may grow as wide as 5 feet. Snowberry produces white or pink flowers singly or in pairs. The flowers are bell shaped and typically ¼ to ½ inch long. The plant may produce new roots from any place that its branches touch the ground. Snowberry produces round, thin leaves on opposite sides of its twigs. The leaves and stems of snowberry are hairy.
Serviceberry is grown as either a small tree or shrub. Serviceberry may be grown purely as an ornamental plant, but the plant may also be grown for its berries. The shrub is drought-resistant, cold-hearty, and will tolerate alkaline soils. Depending on the variety, serviceberries may grow from 6 to 18 feet high. Serviceberries produce white flowers in clusters similar to lilac.