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Mr. Smarty Plants - Groundcover plants for erosion problem in Orlando

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Monday - June 01, 2009

From: Orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Groundcover plants for erosion problem in Orlando
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I live in Orlando, and have a terrible erosion problem on one side of my back yard. Every time it rains, I lose my yard under the fence! The area is part sun. Can you please suggest a plant or groundcover that would do well? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Grasses are ideal plants for holding soil in place because of their extensive fibrous root system.  If the area where the erosion is occurring is really bare, you might consider putting down an erosion-control blanket until your grass or other plants become established. 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.  Many plant nurseries carry this erosion control material.

Here are some plants that should help with your eroding yard.  Since I don't know anything else about the area (e.g., how much sunlight it gets, whether it is mostly dry or somewhat wet), you will need to check the characteristics of these plants against the characteristics of your site to be sure they are compatible.  All these plants are native to Orange County, Florida.

GRASSES

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Aristida stricta (pineland threeawn)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

GROUNDCOVERS

Dyschoriste oblongifolia (oblongleaf snakeherb)

Licania michauxii (Gopher apple) and more photos and information

Mimosa strigillosa (powderpuff)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (narrowleaf blue-eyed grass)

Zamia pumila (coontie) and photos and more information

FERNS (if your yard is in shade [less than 2 hours sun per day] or part shade [2 to 6 hours of sun perday])

Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chainfern) with photos and more information

Woodwardia areolata (netted chainfern)

Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Osmunda regalis (royal fern)

Here are a few representative photos of the plants listed above:


Andropogon virginicus

Aristida stricta

Dyschoriste oblongifolia

Mimosa strigillosa

Phyla nodiflora

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Woodwardia areolata

Osmunda cinnamomea

 

 

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