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Thursday - March 12, 2009

From: Harlingen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native grasses for erosion control in Harlingen, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I like to know what type of fast growing grass, ground cover or trees I can put on a slope for erosion control in Harlingen Texas the slope receives afternoon Sun


The best thing for erosion control is native grasses; which may not be particularly fast-growing as grasses go, but will sure cover faster than trees. Grasses have long fibrous roots and will grab and hold the dirt, keeping it from sliding on down the hill, as well as attract birds and butterflies. Most native grasses can be planted either by seed or by plugs or even sod. The plugs or sod will offer faster coverage, the seed a more economical solution. We are going to suggest a couple of our  How-To Articles, the first one Native Lawns, and the second Meadow Gardening. In the process of providing erosion control, you will also be able to create an attractive feature for your property.

We are going to give you a list of part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) grasses and plants, but we would also like for you to look at some seed mixes. These are from Native American Seeds, which has an online catalog and mail order, plus a lot of experience and advice to offer on where, how and how much to plant. You can, of course, buy individual packets of seeds, plugs or sod, but the mixes make it a lot easier to figure out. The first choice we have is their Shade Friendly Grass Mix. This mix, according to the Texas Natural Regions map on the same page, is good for both the Coastal Sand Plain and the South Texas Brush Country, either one of which could be considered for Harlingen. There is also a Shade Friendly Wildflower Mix. If you feel your area is more sunny than that, there is a Native Coastal Prairie Mix of grasses, which are appropriate to the same two natural Texas regions. Wildflowers for full sun or partial shade in the same regions are included in the Comanche Mix.

For our list of grasses and wildflower appropriate to your area, we are going to go to our Recommended Species, area, click on South Texas on the map, and then Narrow Your Search by selecting first grasses or grass-like plants under Habit, and full sun (6 or more hours of sun a day) and partial shade under Light Requirements. We will do the same sort of search on herbs (herbaceous flowering plants) for wildflowers, both perennial and annual that should work in your meadow. Follow the links to the individual webpage on each plant to learn light requirements, height, soil preferred, etc. These plants and seeds are all commercially available; for other native plant suppliers in your area, go to our Suppliers section.

Native Grasses for Harlingen, TX area

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) - perennial

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) - perennial

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - perennial

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass) - perennial

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) - perennial

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) - perennial

Native Wildflowers for Harlingen, TX area

Amblyolepis setigera (huisache daisy) - annual

Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush) - annual or biennial

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea) - annual

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) - annual

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) - annual

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan) - biennial

Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon glomeratus

Bouteloua curtipendula

Eragrostis spectabilis

Nolina texana

Sorghastrum nutans

Amblyolepis setigera

Castilleja indivisa

Chamaecrista fasciculata

Gaillardia pulchella

Lupinus texensis

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima







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