Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Liriope spicata for erosion and dust suppression from Bonifay FL
August 16, 2011 - I want to plant Liriope 'spicata'. I know it can be aggressive and that's what I want. We live on dirt road and need something by road for help in erosion and it's also hard to mow this are...
view the full question and answer

Need to stabilize a south facing slope in Henderson, NC
April 30, 2010 - Hi, I have a south facing slope that is heavy clay with rock under it. It gets a lot of sun. I have planted a few bushes and some ground cover, but with all the snow and rain we had this past winter, ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in clay soil in Heron, NY
September 07, 2009 - What plants could be used to plant on clay soil, Eastern exposure in full sun to stop erosion on a bay side hill with a steep grade?
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in Pittsburgh, PA
August 22, 2009 - I have a terraced high side lot(front of house). I currently have Yuccas growing, but they are too invasive. Can you suggest plants, shrubs, or ground covers that are not as invasive and will still ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.