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Saturday - August 09, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control for slope to detention pond
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We have been required by code to build a detention pond for new church buildings in the Webster, TX (Clear Lake) area. There is a serious erosion of soil from water runoff from the building roof needing immediate attention to stabilize the slope, then plant native turf grasses. The distance between the building and the pond rim is about 14' maximum. Seeking advice on erosion control matting and choice of seed or sod grasses.


Here is information about using erosion-control blankets and/or fiber or coir rolls to stabilize the erosion area. The fiber rolls and erosion-control fabric work by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediment to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. Underneath the matting the roots of the plants growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem.

Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket or grass plugs can be planted through the blanket. After the grasses have begun to establish themselves and stabilize the area you can add other plants. On the pond edge you could consider adding some attractive aquatic plants to help with the erosion.

Native American Seed in Junction, Texas has a turf grass mix that is 34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss). This grass mixture requires little or no mowing (maximum height is 5 to 8 inches) and will not require extra watering once established. It does best in full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Another possibility for a native turf grass is Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill). It is a fine feathery grass that looks similar to bermuda grass. Please see the answer to a previous question discussing nimblewill.

Here are a few plants that would do well around the detention pond:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Hydrolea ovata (ovate false fiddleleaf)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail)


From the Image Gallery

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua dactyloides

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Blue waterleaf
Hydrolea ovata

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

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