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
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

Plants for erosion control in IL
April 21, 2011 - Steep 40ft slope in rural Illinois with Sandy soil. Recently several trees slid down this slope due to wet conditions. We need any inexpensive plants to hold the hillside in check before erosion creep...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in West Mifflin PA
November 23, 2009 - I have recently had a retaining wall rebuilt in my back yard and an above the ground pool installed. My lawn is uneven with no grass and the hillside is very dry dirt with rocks. What type of plant ...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

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