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

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

Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
June 22, 2011 - What is the best grass seed for erosion control in Austin, TX - Shoal Creek goes through my back yard and I need to seed some areas and it gets lots of sun.
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

Plants to hold a slope in NY
May 17, 2010 - We recently built a house (on a hillside) and now are having some drainage issues on a fairly steep slope (a small creek is forming in the swale the excavator made "deal" with the drainage). Yester...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in VA
March 05, 2011 - Looking for a plant to prevent erosion on a riverbank on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Prefer something low, bank is a bit steep for regular mowing but could be mowed infrequently. Riverbank h...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing ground cover for creekside
May 18, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Austin Texas and am looking for an aggressively spreading ground cover or grass to plant along a small creek on the back of my property in order to help with soil er...
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