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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 10, 2008

From: Shaker Heights, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Ohio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 therefore, shady and dry. What native can we plant that may stem the terrible erosion. State Soil and Water Conservation agent was no help. He said "streams move".

ANSWER:

First of all since your bank is steep and high, you might consider using erosion-control blankets and/or fiber or coir rolls to stabilize the erosion area. The fiber rolls and erosion-control fabric work by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediment to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. The roots of the plants growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem. You can read about a stream bank stabilization project implemented by Department of Environmental Services, Arlington, Viriginia.

Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket of grass plugs can be planted through the blanket. After the grasses have begun to establish themselves and stabilize the area you can add other plants. Near the stream area bushes such as the willow and buttonbush can tolerate being in very wet soil and will be effective in stabilizing the bank adjacent to the stream.

Here are some grasses and other plants that are native to Ohio and will grow in shade (<2 hours sun per day) or part shade (2-6 hours sun per day):

Grasses:

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Shrubs:

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Euonymus atropurpureus (burningbush)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Salix nigra (black willow)


Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Ceanothus americanus

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Euonymus atropurpureus

Mitchella repens

Salix nigra

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
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 a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to prevent erosion in Maryland
February 03, 2009 - Please can you recommend native plants for a north-facing slope, under pine trees? I live in Maryland near the border between the Coastal Plain and Piedmont Plateau, where we have cold to mild Winter...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
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