En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Shrubs for erosion protection in Arlington TX
March 29, 2010 - We live on Johnson Creek in Arlington, Tx. We have recently had to move our fenceline in because the erosion on the creek has collapsed a portion of our retaining wall. I would like to plant somethi...
view the full question and answer

Looking for plants for erosion control in Tennessee.
July 14, 2009 - We are looking for plants native to east Tenessee that will help control erosion once the kudzu in a ravine has been removed. The site is full sun with dry soil. Moderate to fast growth and resist...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for steep slope in Washington DC
May 07, 2010 - We have a steep slope in our garden in Washington DC which has sun from noon to sun set. Could you please recommend some low maintenance plants which would be a good ground cover and limit erosion?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
March 26, 2009 - Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center