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?


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
2 ratings

Monday - April 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the plants. The area is partly shaded. We are considering little bluestem grass for part of the area and wonder if that would be appropriate.


Native grasses are an excellent plant choice for erosion control because the extensive fibrous root systems that they develop work well holding the soil in place.

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) would certainly be appropriate as well as other native grasses that do well in the shade, such as Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats), Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass), and Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama).

Sedges, such as Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge), Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) or Carex texensis (Texas sedge) as well as the grasslike Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) should also be effective.

You could also add some perennial herbaceous plants (e.g., Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine), Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot), Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), and Tradescantia occidentalis (prairie spiderwort).

You might also consider installing erosion control blankets to help with the stabilization until the plants are established.

Schizachyrium scoparium

Chasmanthium latifolium

Eragrostis intermedia

Bouteloua curtipendula

Carex blanda

Carex texensis

Nolina texana

Aquilegia canadensis

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia roemeriana

Tradescantia occidentalis



More Erosion Control Questions

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

Erosion on sandy bank in Wisconsin
June 24, 2008 - I live in Sand Creek Wisconsin. As the name states SAND. I have a problem with rain eroding the sand hill sides. Looking for some type of plant or plants that will help with the erosion problem.
view the full question and answer

Plants for bridge foundation erosion control in WV .
July 05, 2010 - There is a stream on my property that I must cross to get to my house from the road (stream is about 6 - 8 feet wide, with 5 to 6 foot banks). I've recently had to have the bridge repaired, and the ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Ohio
June 10, 2008 - Another erosion question: We bought a place a year and a half ago with a stream/road run off at the back of our property. The southern exposure bank is quite high, I'm guessing 12 feet and therefor...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to cover hillside and control erosion in Woodbine, Kentucky
September 18, 2009 - I live in eastern Kentucky. I have a hillside that is full of weeds how do I get rid of the weeds and what can I plant to cover it. This hillside is not walkable. Is there some kind of vine ? There is...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center