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
1 rating

Monday - July 21, 2008

From: Hamden, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control in New York
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am in zone 5/4 New York and I recently purchased a house with two erosion problems- 1. a seasonal stream has cut a gorge about 20 'deep X 40' long.Mature hemlocks are toppling into this hole. it is semi shade, moist clay soil. 2. A fill bank of nearly pure clay,mostly rock at about 80 degrees,full sun. On this site,erosion is so bad that a mature stand of Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) has been unable to advance,though I am in continual battle with it at the top of the slope. After a winter the gullies are 2' deep and 100' long. I have considered wattling willows but the bank is dangerously steep. I do have the capability to grow 1000's of plants to a gallon size Thank you

ANSWER:

Wow! When we get canyons like that in Texas, we call them state parks and charge admission. Of course, it has quit raining here, so we haven't had any new parks open up recently.

To be honest, we think this is probably beyond the scope of what we can do with native plants, or maybe any plants. Our specialty at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the care, protection and propagation of plants native to the area in which they are grown. It sounds more like you need a firm of civil engineers than advice from gardeners. If mature trees and Japanese knotweed are unable to hold their own against the erosion, we can't think of anything else that could. This doesn't sound like a feature that could have been hidden beneath a neatly mowed lawn. Did you have some plans for the site when you purchased it?

Because we don't know zip about construction of retaining walls, etc. we tried to find some websites that could at least give you some ideas of where to start. This first one is actually from a California nursery. They do recommend some plants, but they are all suitable to California. Las Pilitas Simple erosion control for a hillside or garden slope.(California) Another site from the California government has some more ideas for construction or basic erosion prevention. We realize New York is way different from California, but we couldn't find any sites on controlling erosion in New York. We would definitely recommend that you call in some professionals in site control. If that crevice keeps growing and that bank keeps sliding, you're going to run out of a place for your house.

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Water seepage problems in basement in Philadelphia
April 09, 2009 - I am interested in stopping/limiting water seepage into my basement by placing water absorbing ground plants along one or both sides. The grass we planted when home was new in July 2007 has taken on o...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to cover hillside and control erosion in Woodbine, Kentucky
September 18, 2009 - I live in eastern Kentucky. I have a hillside that is full of weeds how do I get rid of the weeds and what can I plant to cover it. This hillside is not walkable. Is there some kind of vine ? There is...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in arid region
September 29, 2008 - In semi arid south west (Phoenix), the drainage is managed by creating incised channels. Typically, the dirt channel can erode with even very low velocities of moving water. To reduce erosion therefor...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Lago Vista, TX.
May 20, 2012 - I was hoping for some advice. We live on a hillside near Lake Travis. 10-12 years ago I removed all cedar trees. There is approximately 1-2 acrees of steep land between our residence and the lake. ...
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