Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 17, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover to help ease erosion in shade
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My house is situated on an embankment near a creek. We are looking for ground cover plants that can help ease the erosion of the embankment without being invasive for the existing trees. They must be able to live in the shade and be native to central Texas. Any ideas? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Your best bets for controlling erosion are grasses. They produce extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil very effectively. Once the area has stabilized you can add wildflowers to grow with the grasses. There are several grasses that will grow in shade or partial shade in the Austin area. It is a little late, however, to grow any of these from seed—you will need to find plugs (small plants) to set out. You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens)

Sedges are also a good choice.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)


Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Eragrostis intermedia

Nassella tenuissima

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native groundcovers for bare, shady space in Oklahoma
August 22, 2008 - I have recently acquired a new residence that has very little lawn to speak of. The backyard is in an unfortunate position to catch significant amounts of rainwater from nearby yards, and is sloped. ...
view the full question and answer

Shade and Rain Garden in South Carolina
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have two seperate but important questions for your mastery of native plant knowledge. First, I live in a thick, 112 ft. tall white oak forest. Therefore, there is lot...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade native to New York
June 13, 2006 - I am gradually trying to convert my garden to all natives. I am working in a shaded area under a maple tree. Are there any varieties of epimediums/barrenwort or hellebores that are native to the nor...
view the full question and answer

Grass or ground cover for sun/part shade in Austin
December 30, 2007 - I live in Southwest Austin (a couple of miles from the Wildflower Center) and I would like to plant some grass in my backyard. I have a small yard with several oak trees and they have been cut back to...
view the full question and answer

Plants for water park
January 03, 2013 - Hi, I usually have no problem locating the right species for a given situation, but I may need some advice for this. I am looking for plants -- from annual & perennial flowers to shrubs and small t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.