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

Sunday - January 31, 2010

From: Pace, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Hurricane Ivan damage from Pace FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My yard on Escambia Bay in NW Florida was stripped of good plants and topsoil by a 4 foot tidal surge in Hurricane Ivan. I have made some plantings, but am just now getting the entire property cleared of storm debris. An old sailboat was pulled out from water's edge at my spring fed pond, leaving a huge eroded gulley. I need to get this filled in and then plant native plants. I can get what's called topsoil here, but it has lots of sand in it, and some brownish dirt. Should I add any fertilizer or mulch to it? Also I'm thinking of using bales of pine straw to hold the edges of the fill dirt from spilling into the pond. My grandson wants to have his outdoor wedding here next September, so need help to get growing!

ANSWER:

We are very sorry for the damage you sustained from Hurricane Ivan.In Texas what we are remembering is Hurricane Ike, on September 13, 2008. We gather from this Hurricane Ivan Wikipedia site that Ivan began on Sept. 3, 2004, and looped around and hit Escambia Bay on the backswing. Most of the information we were able to find concerned bridge, road and park damage, including the tidal surge you mentioned. Located in the western end of the Florida Panhandle, I guess you were not far enough north to escape severe damage.

And there is where our knowledge ends. We are specialists in providing information on plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.  We did get a lot of questions regarding tree damage after Hurricane Ike and, at the time, there were government agencies specifically set up to help with property damage and recovery. We were unable to find any such agencies working in Florida, although we are sure there were some. Whether they would still be able to give you some assistance 5-1/2 years after the hurricane, we don't know. What we do know is that this is way out of our field. You need specialists in soils, drainage, protection of your fresh-water pond and hopefully some sort of protection against further similar storms.

Our recommendation is that you seek professional help in determining what measures to need to take to restore your property. This could be landscape consultants, environmental experts, maybe even help from some university programs. Someone with experience and training will need to actually survey the site and help you make plans. A good starting point on where to find such professionals would be the University of Florida Extension Office for Santa Rosa County.

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Solution for erosion on steep slope in California
April 14, 2011 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I have a serious hillside problem in Santa Cruz County resulting from the recent deluge of rain. Steep to sheer now with no plants left on it after the hill slide washed to th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep embankment on the Missouri River in Nebraska
July 01, 2009 - Hi, My embankment along the Northeast Nebraska shoreline of the Missouri River is eroding the land away. Do you have any suggestions for seed I could throw over the side of the bank that would grow...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop erosion on creek side
July 05, 2011 - I need plants for a westside slope to a creek that will help with erosion, need fast growing and likes lots of sun. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
view the full question and answer

Clay hill with erosion problems in Reedsport OR
July 10, 2009 - We have a very steep 35-40' clay hill subject to erosion in the Oregon rainy season. How or what do we do to get some kind of vegetation/grass, etc to grow without washing away? We have had mudslides...
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