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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


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.


  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

Andropogon virginicus

Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Erosion Control Questions

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
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Erosion control on slope from Columbia SC
April 25, 2013 - We are in the process of having a new home built in Columbia South Carolina. Part of the front yard has a steep slope starting approximately four feet from the corner of the house and running to the ...
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Groundcover plants for erosion problem in Orlando
June 01, 2009 - Hi, I live in Orlando, and have a terrible erosion problem on one side of my back yard. Every time it rains, I lose my yard under the fence! The area is part sun. Can you please suggest a plant or ...
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Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia
May 01, 2011 - I've been tasked with identifying native grass varieties or mixes (Coastal Georgia) that can be used for erosion control on sandy slopes created from dredged river sediment and that receive lots of s...
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Erosion control plantings in Washington state
September 06, 2007 - Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Washington state where there is plenty of rain so erosion is a big problem. We are t...
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