Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Saturday - August 09, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Nimblewill
Muhlenbergia schreberi

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Blue waterleaf
Hydrolea ovata

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

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

Grasses for a pasture in Hays County, Texas with horses
March 20, 2015 - I intend to sow grass seed over a few acres of pasture on which I'll have a couple of horses in Driftwood, TX. I'd like to know what variety of seed(s) would be most beneficial to the land - and th...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in IL
August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control near creek in Kansas City, MO
July 26, 2008 - I'm looking for something to plant to help stop erosion on my property. The spot I have in mind is on a slight natural grade heading toward the creek at the back of my property. Any ideas on what t...
view the full question and answer

Exposed Tree Roots in Austin
September 04, 2012 - I have a large ash tree with a lot of mud at the top of a sloping yard. I want to build a small retaining wall with the ground leveled above. This would entail covering exposed tree roots with 4-18 in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.