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Saturday - May 03, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the flooding that happens 5-7 times per year.


We are going to start, going to our Native Plant Database and,  using the selection list on the left-hand side of the page, check Texas, "grass or grass-like" for HABIT, "perennial" for DURATION, "shade" (2 or less hours of sun a day, or "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun) for LIGHT REQUIREMENTS and 1-3 ft for HEIGHT. We started with grass or grass-like because, with long fibrous roots, grasses are usually the best bet in controlling erosion. We will make additional searches for the HABIT of "herb" (heraceous blooming plant), "vine" and "shrub," using the same specifications. You can then follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn if its growing conditions match those in your garden. And you can use the same method to look for more plants, maybe with different specifications, that will suit your purposes  better.  Before we put any plant on your list, we will check the USDA Plant Profile Map on that plant to ensure that it will grow in or near Travis County. Texas is a very big state, and there are a lot of very different climates, soils and rainfall amounts, so you want to make sure you are planting something where it will grow. The fact that your slope is shady does limit the number of choices.

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Smilax pumila (Sarsaparilla vine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern)

Berlandiera lyrata (Chocolate daisy)

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin)

Mahonia repens (Creeping barberry)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)


From the Image Gallery

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Sarsaparilla vine
Smilax pumila

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Common lady fern
Athyrium filix-femina

Chocolate daisy
Berlandiera lyrata

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Creeping barberry
Mahonia repens

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Leucophyllum frutescens

More Erosion Control Questions

Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
June 22, 2011 - What is the best grass seed for erosion control in Austin, TX - Shoal Creek goes through my back yard and I need to seed some areas and it gets lots of sun.
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Erosion at edge of driveway in Abilene TX
August 26, 2011 - My lawn suffered a great loss of grass over the winter and the soil at the edge of the driveway is washing away with watering and the occasional rains that we have. I am trying to get the grass to gr...
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Native plants for controlling erosion in Fairmont WV
August 30, 2010 - I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. The area is partly shaded.
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Ground cover for a slope in San Antonio TX
July 02, 2013 - Slope growing, no or little irrigation ground cover. The slope is probably greater than 30%. The area is currently a construction road at the base, cut into the hill. To re-establish with a ground cov...
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