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
3 ratings

Wednesday - July 23, 2008

From: Pleasant Hill, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Groundcover for erosion control in Missouri
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you suggest a ground cover to stop erosion on a slight slope in my backyard? I live in Missouri - the soil is very poor in this area and has lots of rock underneath the soil. The yard drains into a creek bed at the back of my property.

ANSWER:

Grasses do an excellent job of erosion control because their extensive fibrous root system holds the soil very well. You don't say whether your backyard is shaded or not, but I will suggest several attractive grasses and indicate what their light requirements are.

Grasses These all are 1-3 ft tall.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) sun, part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) sun and dry soil

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) sun, part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) sun, part shade and dry soil

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) part shade, shade and moist or dry soil

Sedges These look very much like grass, but tend to be shorter. They also have fibrous root systems that hold soil.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) sun, part shade, shade and dry to moist soils

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge) sun and wet or moist soils

Ferns These are attractive for moist areas with shade. The Christmas fern will also grow in the sun.

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern) part shade, shade and wet or moist soil

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) part shade and moist or wet soil

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) sun, part shade and moist or dry soil. This fern is evergreen.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua gracilis

Elymus canadensis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Chasmanthium latifolium

Carex pensylvanica

Carex stipata

Athyrium filix-femina

Osmunda cinnamomea

Polystichum acrostichoides

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for erosion control in South Dakota
December 04, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota at about 5000 feet ASL. My house is on a steep hill. I had to clear a perimeter around my house of all the pine trees for fire supp...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
April 09, 2007 - I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the pl...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Need to stabilize a south facing slope in Henderson, NC
April 30, 2010 - Hi, I have a south facing slope that is heavy clay with rock under it. It gets a lot of sun. I have planted a few bushes and some ground cover, but with all the snow and rain we had this past winter, ...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center