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Friday - July 03, 2009

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


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.


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

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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...
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Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
July 15, 2014 - Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on thi...
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Further explanation of retaining walls and trees from Washington MO
March 11, 2013 - I had a question previously about putting retaining walls across the root system of a 40' tall bald cypress tree(not like spokes on a wheel, but concentric to tree trunk). How wide can the walls be? ...
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Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
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