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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 24, 2009

From: Mobile, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What can we plant on the inner and out walls of a detention pond to stop erosion? The pond is located in a neighborhood in Mobile, AL and the walls are 9 ft high with a steep slope.

ANSWER:

If the banks are very steep you might want to consider using erosion-control blankets to stabilize the erosion area. The erosion-control fabric works 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.

Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket or grass plugs can be planted through the blanket. After the grasses have begun to establish themselves and stabilize the area you can add other plants. On the pond edge you could consider adding some attractive aquatic or semi-aquatic plants to help prevent the erosion.

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) is an attractive grass that does well in moist areas in full sun.

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem) grows well in part shade in moist soils.

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) grows in sun or part shade in dry to moist soils.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) will grow in sun, part shade or shade and in moist or dry soils.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) is a very attractive grass that grows in part shade and shade in moist soils.

Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail) will grow in sun or part shade at the edge of the pond in dry to wet soil.

Eleocharis montevidensis (sand spikerush) would grow well at the edge of the pond in wet or moist soil in the sun.

HERBACEOUS 

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) 

Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

SHRUBS

Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow)

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)


Andropogon glomeratus

Andropogon virginicus

Panicum virgatum

Carex blanda

Chasmanthium latifolium

Typha latifolia

Eleocharis montevidensis

Lobelia cardinalis

Helianthus angustifolius

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus coccineus

Itea virginica

Lindera benzoin

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
view the full question and answer

Replacing hawthorn bush with muhly grass from Plano TX
April 10, 2014 - I am thinking of replacing a hawthorn bush with a muhly grass plant or two in an edged area with river rock cover in Plano, texas. It is the black soil and not a sandy loam. We have a sprinkler syst...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Dog-proof grass from The Woodlands TX
April 26, 2013 - I am looking for a hardy grass that can tolerate female dogs urine. Zoysia was suggested but I am concerned about it being invasive. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

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