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

Tuesday - October 21, 2008

From: Woodbury, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Minnesota
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I have a steep slope in back yard which gets considerable rain runoff from the homes above me. What plants/shrubs/trees could I plant on the slope to stop the erosion occurring? I've had it hydroseeded, but the rills keep appearing from the water. A line of plants at the top of the slope to dissipate water?

ANSWER:

It sounds as if you could benefit from erosion-control blankets and/or fiber or coir rolls to stabilize your slope.  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.  Grasses are an excellent choice for erosion control since their extensive fibrous root system is very effective in holding the soil in place.  Here are few attractive native grasses and sedges that are commercially available and grow well in Minnesota.  With the exception of the Canada wildrye which can reach 4 feet, all these grow less than 3 feet tall.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Pascopyrum smithii (western wheatgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

After you have gotten the soil stabilized you can then add wildflowers, shrubs and trees.  For a list of commercially available native plants suitable for landscape use in Minnesota, please visit our Recommended Species page and select 'Minnesota' from the map.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua gracilis

Bromus kalmii

Carex pensylvanica

Elymus canadensis

Koeleria macrantha

Pascopyrum smithii

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sporobolus heterolepis

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion control in Ohio
April 23, 2014 - We live on the north side of the Maumee River in Toledo, OH. We are looking to plant something low (3' max) that will stabilize the very steep hill leading down to the river, preventing erosion. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop erosion on creek side
July 05, 2011 - I need plants for a westside slope to a creek that will help with erosion, need fast growing and likes lots of sun. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
view the full question and answer

California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
November 21, 2010 - In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft de...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control in Bartlesville OK
May 10, 2012 - What kind of plants can we use to stop erosion and loss of bank on a creek that is mostly shaded? Is there any free advice/plants for people that are losing land due to water levels rising/dropping?
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in VA
March 05, 2011 - Looking for a plant to prevent erosion on a riverbank on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Prefer something low, bank is a bit steep for regular mowing but could be mowed infrequently. Riverbank h...
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