En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
May 07, 2014 - What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA
view the full question and answer

Plants for controlling erosion on a cleared slope in Ohio
April 29, 2009 - I live in Cincinnati, OH. BP owns a pipeline which runs thru part of my property. They clear out all the large trees every few years, so that it is visible from the air. Our area is surrounded by M...
view the full question and answer

Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
April 24, 2009 - 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.
view the full question and answer

Exposed Tree Roots in Austin
September 04, 2012 - I have a large ash tree with a lot of mud at the top of a sloping yard. I want to build a small retaining wall with the ground leveled above. This would entail covering exposed tree roots with 4-18 in...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Kerrville, TX.
August 18, 2012 - We have a steep slope at the back of our property in "caleche" territory in Kerrville. It is about 80 feet wide by 40 feet and ends at a wash. It is outside of our fenced yard and we are in city lim...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center