En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 30, 2014

From: Phenix City, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Erosion controlling Groundcover for Phenix AL
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hi I am trying to find a grass or ground cover to control erosion on firing range berms which are 1:1 grade on a firing range outside of Phenix City AL. Sandy clay soil, direct sunlight almost all day. Hopefully cheap to initially plant, easy or no maintenance, and self seeding. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

  Mr Smarty Plants thinks you are certainly working in the right direction to look for native plants to stabilize your berms.  They certainly fit your requirements of easy or no maintenance and self seeding. 

  The general approach we use to limit erosion is to recommend clumping grasses or shrubs that have extended root systems.  It is these that hold the soil and stabilize it against the flow of water.  I’ve collected a set of previous question/answer pairs from Mr Smarty Plants that address erosion and groundcover recommendations from cities in Alabama and Georgia.   In addition to the recommendations, pay attention to the methods using the Wildflower Center resources to find candidate plants and approaches.

Ground cover for sun in Phenix City, AL 

Plants to stop erosion in Alabama 

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama 

Plants for slope in central Alabama 

Native plants for erosion control in Cataula GA 

Deer Resistant, Fast Growing Groundcover Suggestions for Georgia  

Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA 

Here are 5 grasses from those recommended above that are relatively low and tend to clump, which means they will function well controlling erosion.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Aristida stricta (Pineland threeawn)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge bluestem)

 

Two more groundcovers [Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) and Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) ] from the above discussions are quite low and give great cover and virtually zero maintenance. They are a bit less functional at erosion control, but are an excellent zero maintenance lawnlike cover.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Pineland threeawn
Aristida stricta

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Broomsedge bluestem
Andropogon virginicus

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Deer resistant native plants for Eagle Scout project in Urbandale IA
April 27, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My son is planning his Eagle Scout Project doing some landscaping for the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. The facility has asked him to use only plants native to Iowa. Can you su...
view the full question and answer

Source for Saltmarsh cordgrass from Houston
April 16, 2013 - I work for a consulting firm and we are looking to do more of our wetland creation/restoration. Do you know where one can purchased Spartina alterniflora?
view the full question and answer

What is pulling Indian Grass out of a park in Washington DC?
June 29, 2011 - We are renovating a park in Washington, DC on the waterfront. We have planted Sorghastrum Nutans (Indian Grass). During the evening/overnight something is pulling the plants from the ground. It is onl...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Planting a meadow garden in Pennsylvania
November 16, 2014 - I live in Saxonburg PA near Pittsburgh PA. I want to put a meadow garden in my back yard. We are building a home so there is no established yard yet just trees and weeds. Where do I start . What...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center