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

Friday - July 03, 2009

From: Phenix City, AL
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants to stop erosion in Alabama
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our front yard is being washed down the street when we have rainstorms. It's been especially bad this year due to all the rain.What kinds of plants/grasses could we use to help stop the water from running down the hill taking our front yard with it? I thought about pampas grass but the reviews I've read pertain to California or Florida.

ANSWER:

First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants would NOT recommend Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass) since it is native to Argentina and Brazil and not native to North America.  Additionally it appears on the Texas Invasives list, Weeds of California and Weeds of Hawaii.  What Mr. Smarty Plants would recommend are native grasses.  Grasses with their extensive fibrous root systems are very efficient at holding the soil.  Here are a few good ones that are attractive and native to Alabama:

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Aristida stricta (pineland threeawn)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

You will need to check the Growing Conditions for each species to be sure that they match the characteristics of your site.

You can find more choices by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing Alabama from the Select State or Province category and 'Grass/Grass-like' from Habit (general appearance).  You can also make choices in the Light requirement and Soli moisture categories that match your site in order to narrow the list.


Andropogon virginicus

Aristida stricta

Carex texensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Groundcover for Sunny Slope in CT
May 11, 2013 - I need a plant to use as groundcover and for erosion control on a sunny slope in southwestern Connecticut. Any suggestions other than juniper?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for native plants on a dry sunny hillside in Baltimore Maryland.
July 28, 2009 - Need native recommendations for sunny, dry hillside for ground cover or shrub in Maryland. Mowing the grass is a pain and an energy waster (and I don't want to be tempted to extend some adjacent exi...
view the full question and answer

Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
May 27, 2009 - 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 g...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep bank in Virginia
June 23, 2009 - I have a small yard with a 3 foot steep bank that I want to plant on. I am looking for fast growing ground cover. There is some shade but not a lot and has a southern exposure. Ground is a bit roug...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center