En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Groundcover for foot traffic in dry shade from Prineville OR
May 12, 2013 - I live in central Oregon. I have an area under a large elm tree that slopes on all sides and has lots of foot traffic and no sun. (my kids have a swing in the tree and play around it a lot.) It's a v...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in sandy shade with steep slope
August 14, 2014 - I'm a very experienced gardener but I'm completely stumped on this one. We live among the dunes in SW Michigan. Our yard mostly consists of Ammophila breviligulata and Asclepias syriaca bisec...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia
May 01, 2011 - I've been tasked with identifying native grass varieties or mixes (Coastal Georgia) that can be used for erosion control on sandy slopes created from dredged river sediment and that receive lots of s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in East Texas
January 03, 2009 - We have recently moved to Conroe and are having a problem with erosion behind a retaining wall (installed by previous owner. The retaining wall is made of concrete and is about 8 foot tall by 110 foo...
view the full question and answer

Solution for erosion on steep slope in California
April 14, 2011 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I have a serious hillside problem in Santa Cruz County resulting from the recent deluge of rain. Steep to sheer now with no plants left on it after the hill slide washed to th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center