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 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

Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in VA
March 05, 2011 - Looking for a plant to prevent erosion on a riverbank on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Prefer something low, bank is a bit steep for regular mowing but could be mowed infrequently. Riverbank h...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
June 19, 2010 - We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
view the full question and answer

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
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