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

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

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for erosion control in Harlingen, TX
March 12, 2009 - I like to know what type of fast growing grass, ground cover or trees I can put on a slope for erosion control in Harlingen Texas the slope receives afternoon Sun
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

Plants for a bare clay slope in North Carolina
December 22, 2011 - Hi - I live near Raleigh North Carolina (border of the coastal plain and Piedmont). I have about 1/2 acre that was excavated for a geothermal heating/cooling system and now I need to stabilize it a...
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

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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center