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Saturday - May 17, 2008

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


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!


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



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