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

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for controlling erosion in Fairmont WV
August 30, 2010 - I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. The area is partly shaded.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
May 08, 2009 - We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like som...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Charleston WV
August 26, 2009 - I live in Charleston, WV and just purchased a home that has a hill side out back that has some erosion occurring. I was wondering what would be the best ground cover to plant in my area to control the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center