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?

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
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
5 ratings

Friday - May 30, 2008

From: New Buffalo, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The soil (which is a bit of a stretch as it's actually mostly sand) contains rocks from earlier large scale erosion control (concrete debris) has full sun and is generally hot and dry. Your help would be appreciated! With a plan in hand, we hope to engage the neighborhood in this project as well! Many thanks.

ANSWER:

First of all, grasses are excellent choices for erosion control because of their extensive fibrous root system that holds the soil in place. Here are some grasses that will do well on the dunes:

Ammophila breviligulata (American beachgrass)

Calamovilfa longifolia (prairie sandreed) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Leymus mollis (American dunegrass) synonym=Elymus mollis with photos from Washington State University Extension

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Elymus lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus (Great Lakes wheat grass)

Below are other plants that are adapted to growing on the dunes:

Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Salix cordata (heartleaf willow) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Lithospermum caroliniense (Carolina puccoon)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Prunus pumila (sandcherry)

Cakile edentula (American searocket) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense (Lake Huron tansy)

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle)

While you are working on your dunes, be on the lookout for two threatened species:

1. Cirsium pitcheri (sand dune thistle) with photos and information from Center fo Plant Conservation and information from Michigan Department of Natural Resources

2. Solidago houghtonii (Houghton's goldenrod) information from Center for Plant Conservation

If you do find them, contact the Endangered Species Coordinator in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources so that they will know their location.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Coastal Dunes page has a lot useful information and you might also like to read the article, Dune/Sand Stabilization, from Michigan Department of Environment Quality that has instructions for installing plants for dune stabilization.


Ammophila breviligulata

Elymus canadensis

Lithospermum caroliniense

Campanula rotundifolia

Asclepias syriaca

Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense

Diervilla lonicera

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Need plants for steep slope in Knoxville, TN.
January 10, 2013 - I have several steep banks that have to be weed-eated each year every week. Do you know if there are any kinds of ground cover that would take over the weeds on these steep dangerous banks. I live in ...
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

Erosion for check dam in San Antonio
February 13, 2009 - What are the best trees for a shallow soil wind break in San Antonio? I am building a check dam (maybe 2' deep by 20' wide tall) over a shallow limestone gully to slow the erosion. the gully drai...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for hillside in Brookings OR
April 16, 2009 - We live on the Chetco river and the bank in front of the house is on a hill. What would be a flowering plant that would maintain the integrity of the hill?
view the full question and answer

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center