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
6 ratings

Thursday - June 05, 2008

From: Jackson, MI
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Groundcover plants for slope to prevent erosion
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi, I have just made a 3/4 acre pond and the south facing slope is too steep to mow.Can you suggest any ground cover plants I could use to look nice and prevent erosion.


Grasses are excellent plants to use for erosion control because their fibrous root systems are very effective in holding the soil. Since I don't know what your available sunlight is for the slope, i will recommend some species with various sun requirements. Partial shade = 2-6 hours of sunlight per day. Shade = <2 hours of sunlight per day. These grasses that I am recommending can grow to heights of 1 to 4 feet. However, they are all attractive when they are mature and brown as well as when they are green so you shouldn't you need to mow them.


Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) sun, part shade, shade

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) part shade, shade

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) part shade

Sedges are grasslike but don't grow as tall as grasses—both of these grow to around 1 foot. They have the advantage of being evergreen and also having fibrous roots.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) evergreen, sun, part shade, shade

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) evergreen, part shade

Ferns are also an alternative if there is enough moisture available.

Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) evergreen, shade and part shade

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) evergreen, sun, part shade

Finally, here is a low, woody shrub that does well on pond margins and bogs.

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry) semi-evergreen, part shade

You can also go to our Recommended Species page and choose Mississippi from the map to see a list of commerically available native plants suitable for planned landscapes.

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus virginicus

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Asplenium platyneuron

Polystichum acrostichoides

Gaylussacia dumosa



More Erosion Control Questions

Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Lago Vista, TX.
May 20, 2012 - I was hoping for some advice. We live on a hillside near Lake Travis. 10-12 years ago I removed all cedar trees. There is approximately 1-2 acrees of steep land between our residence and the lake. ...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of non-native, invasive English Ivy from Davidsonville MD
March 19, 2014 - Just moved and need to rid the well established Ivy planted on the steep slope area around the back and side of the house as it is taking over the bushes on the top and trees in forested area at botto...
view the full question and answer

Grass for erosion control
July 19, 2008 - I have a very shaded sloped back yard. I have not been able to get grass to grow due to the shade. There are approximately twenty 30-40 ft. Oaks in the yard. The yard slopes toward the house. I wo...
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