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 Groundcovers Questions

Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
January 09, 2008 - I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

What habitat would my Antennaria solitaria like in Red Bank, TN?
October 26, 2010 - I want to know what habitat my mystery plant will like- sun, shade, dry or moist. I think it is an Antennaria solitaria or Little Pussytoes. I got it at a native plant sale here in Chattanooga. It has...
view the full question and answer

Pet-friendly plants for ground cover in Bastrop TX
June 21, 2010 - Any pet-friendly plants that can be used for ground-cover in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover Under Maple Tree in Ottawa That Takes Foot Traffic
April 19, 2013 - Hi, I am looking for a groundcover to put under a large maple tree that will be alright for kids to run about on and will be happy in the Ottawa climate. Your other answers to similar questions have b...
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