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
2 ratings

Wednesday - May 27, 2009

From: Suffolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots get stronger to stop erosion or is this a farce?

ANSWER:

According to Plant-Care.com your homeowner's association is right.   Quoting them: 

"The quantity of leaf surface combined with the sugar making process called photosynthesis helps determine how much food the root system will receive.  More leaf surface help produce a root system that is healthier. ...When grass is cut root growth ceases temporarily."

This advice is echoed by many other lawn care experts (e.g., BetterLiving and Back to Nature Lawn Service).

The stronger and more extensive the root system, the better it can hold the soil in place.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Advice about buffalo grass lawn in NW Arkansas
June 10, 2014 - I am determined to grow a native buffalo grass (bouteloua) lawn in Northwest Arkansas. My question is this: I am considering mixing an annual rye into the bouteloua seed mix for the purpose of quick, ...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with rain runoff on a slope in Austin
March 24, 2012 - Our lawn is a year old and slopes at about a 45 degree angle with a lot of small holes and tiny gullies from water run-off. I have tried packing them with soil, but it washes away in the rain. Would ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Nassella tenuissima for Woodland Hills CA
June 30, 2013 - Good afternoon, I wanted to purchase some already grown Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) and was wondering how often and for how long I would need to water said grass on a scheduled sprinkl...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine grass with native grasses in Georgetown TX
October 28, 2009 - I have a St Augustine yard around my house. I would like to introduce or replace this type of grass with some of the Buffalo, Blue Gamma and or Curly Mesquite. Can I plant some of the native seed in...
view the full question and answer

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