En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants for a drainage easement in central Texas

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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
March 19, 2008 - Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are pa...
view the full question and answer

Is Mimosa pudica poisonous from Janesville WI
February 21, 2014 - I have just recently learned of Mimosa Pudica also known as the sensitive plant. I see using the USDA website that it can be found in the USA so I think that covers the North America aspect. I have b...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of tropical plumeria
July 04, 2008 - I have had my plumeria for the past five years. The first three years it bloomed but has not the past two. The plant is healthy and continues to grow but will not flower. It seems to be very health...
view the full question and answer

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
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