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

Friday - May 23, 2008

From: Orleans, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants to control hillside erosion in Vermont
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Vermont. What kinds of plants would hold together a hillside and could be planted in abundance for cheap?

ANSWER:

Your best bet to meet both your criteria—controlling erosion and saving money—is native grass. Grasses, because of their extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil, are ideal plants to stabilize a steep area and prevent erosion. Here is a paper that may be helpful to you—The Use of Warm Season Grasses for Critical Area Stabilization by C. F. Miller and J. A. Dickerson from the Proceedings of the 2nd Eastern Native Grass Symposium, Baltimore, MD November 1999. It has recommendations for site preparation and planting procedures as well as the best grass species to use.

Here are the grasses of the core mix from the paper. These occur in Vermont or in adjacent states (e.g., New York).

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Dichanthelium clandestinum (deertongue)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

These are other grasses that occur in Vermont or in adjacent states that are mentioned in the above paper.

Panicum amarum (bitter panicgrass)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Festuca rubra (red fescue)

Festuca subverticillata (nodding fescue)


Andropogon gerardii

Sorghastrum nutans

Schizachyrium scoparium

Panicum virgatum

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

 

.
 

More Erosion Control Questions

Stabilizing a sand bank in VT
August 13, 2011 - We have a summer cottage in Burlington, Vt. and need to stabilize a mound of sand. The "bank" we are trying to stabilize has partial sun and faces south. It measures approx 4' high and is 30' long...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for erosion control in North Carolina
January 29, 2009 - I have an area on the north side of my house that is a hill with about a 6:1 slope. It also has a set of steps used to get from the front of the yard to the rear yard. It is very shaded. I am havin...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for erosion control in South Dakota
December 04, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota at about 5000 feet ASL. My house is on a steep hill. I had to clear a perimeter around my house of all the pine trees for fire supp...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
April 09, 2007 - 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 pl...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for slope to detention pond
August 09, 2008 - We have been required by code to build a detention pond for new church buildings in the Webster, TX (Clear Lake) area. There is a serious erosion of soil from water runoff from the building roof need...
view the full question and answer

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