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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

Grasses

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 stem bank erosion in Ponder, Texas
May 07, 2010 - We have a pond with a bridge over the middle in full sun with a steep bank on one side. The bank is difficult to maintain and we need some natural looking low maintenance plants or ground cover to pl...
view the full question and answer

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA
April 25, 2013 - I have a similar question to one from SC. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We have a steep slope behind a newly built in pool. What type of plants can I put on the hillside to hold the soil. It gets a ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in arid region
September 29, 2008 - In semi arid south west (Phoenix), the drainage is managed by creating incised channels. Typically, the dirt channel can erode with even very low velocities of moving water. To reduce erosion therefor...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for a bank in PA
April 28, 2012 - I live in Landisburg, PA, (zone 6). I need to find some ground cover for a primarily full sun bank that is roughly 10-12' down over the embankment and up to 100' long. This area wraps around our po...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center