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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 29, 2008

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for a drainage easement in central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 1/3 acre of drainage easement behind my home. I would like to cover it with wildflowers. It is only wet during or shortly after a rain and otherwise does not have water. I have channelled the water to cut down on the erosion but would like the plants to improve erosion and provide a groundcover much like bluebonnets do naturally in Texas. Also, do I need to prepare the soil by tilling or otherwise?

ANSWER:

First, I suggest that you visit our How to Articles page and read "Meadow Gardens" (under LARGE SCALE WILDFLOWER PLANTING) since that is essentially what you want to create.  You will read in the article that the inclusion of native grasses with the wildflowers is important for several reasons, but one of the main ones is that grasses are excellent plants to prevent erosion.  Their extensive fibrous root sytem is very good at holding soil in place. 

Here are a few grasses that are attractive and native to Central Texas:

Shorter grasses (generally 1 ft. or less)

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss)

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)

Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri (curly-mesquite)

Taller grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia reverchonii (seep muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

You can find a selection of commercially available recommended native plants for Central Texas by selecting that area from the map on our Recommended Species page. On that list are many possibilities for selections for wildflowers for your space (for instance, Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel), Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush) and Oenothera speciosa (pink evening primrose)Native American Seed in Junction has a variey of wildflower seed mixes available for sale as well as seeds for individual species of wildflowers and native grasses. You can also find other sources for native seeds and plants in our National Suppliers Directory.

Tilling the soil isn't usually necessary unless you have a dense overgrowth of weeds.  In fact, tilling should be avoided if possible since this usually stimulates dormant weed seeds.  The most important thing for success in germinating your seeds is to have the seeds in contact with the soil.  This can usually be achieved by raking the area to expose the soil.  Native American Seed has some very helpful suggestions in Planting Tips and you also should read "Getting Started" on our How to Articles page.  


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri

Bouteloua curtipendula

Eragrostis intermedia

Muhlenbergia reverchonii

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Lupinus texensis

Gaillardia pulchella

Castilleja indivisa

Oenothera speciosa

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Preventing Soil Erosion in Elgin, Texas
June 06, 2011 - I live in Elgin,TX and our property is basically a slope with dense oak and cedar trees on the back of the property. The soil is sandy loam. What type of native plants or grasses can I plant to stop...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for erosion control in North Carolina
January 29, 2009 - I have an area on the north side of my house that is a hill with about a 6:1 slope. It also has a set of steps used to get from the front of the yard to the rear yard. It is very shaded. I am havin...
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

Need recommendations for native plants on a dry sunny hillside in Baltimore Maryland.
July 28, 2009 - Need native recommendations for sunny, dry hillside for ground cover or shrub in Maryland. Mowing the grass is a pain and an energy waster (and I don't want to be tempted to extend some adjacent exi...
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