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
3 ratings

Saturday - July 19, 2008

From: Rogers, AR
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Grass for erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 would like to control the erosion of the soil, but not sure how to approach it. What can I use to stop the erosion, or plant to help control the erosion. I have small children, and they do play in the yard. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Grasses and sedges are excellent plants for controling erosion because of their extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil. There are a number of attractive grass species native to Arizona that will grow in the shade and should work very well.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

These are all clump-forming grasses that could be planted, or sown, throughout your yard. You can intersperse the grass clumps with some low shade-loving perennials.

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) is a low-growing herbaceous plant that makes an excellent ground cover. Although it doesn't usually grow very high, it can be mowed if it gets taller than you want.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) is a low-growing woody shrub that also makes a good ground cover.

If you have enough moisture, a fern such as Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern) also makes an excellent groundcover in shade.

Finally, here are some miscellaneous herbaceous perennials that you could plant among the grasses.

Geum triflorum (old man's whiskers)

Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia)

Antennaria parvifolia (small-leaf pussytoes) with more information

Argentina anserina (silverweed cinquefoil) makes a good erosion-control plant if you have enough soil moisture.

You can search for more plants that will grow in the shade in Arizona by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database. Select 'Arizona' from the Select State or Province category and 'Shade - Less than 2 hours of sun per day' from the Light requirement category. You can add choices from other categories as well.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Athyrium filix-femina

Geum triflorum

Ruellia nudiflora

Antennaria parvifolia

Argentina anserina

 



 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plants for steep bank to prevent erosion
March 24, 2010 - We recently bought a house (6 months ago) in Memphis, TN that backs up to a concrete drainage ditch. There is a fairly steep, mostly shaded bank that leads from the flat section of the back yard to th...
view the full question and answer

Liriope spicata for erosion and dust suppression from Bonifay FL
August 16, 2011 - I want to plant Liriope 'spicata'. I know it can be aggressive and that's what I want. We live on dirt road and need something by road for help in erosion and it's also hard to mow this are...
view the full question and answer

Clay hill with erosion problems in Reedsport OR
July 10, 2009 - We have a very steep 35-40' clay hill subject to erosion in the Oregon rainy season. How or what do we do to get some kind of vegetation/grass, etc to grow without washing away? We have had mudslides...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
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