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
2 ratings

Monday - February 22, 2010

From: Americus, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replenishing a fallow field in Central Geogia.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have recently taken a 54 acre field out of cultivation and would like to replenish the soil with native cover plants. There is a slope to a portion of the field that is experiencing some erosion. I would like to stabalize the soil in that area as well. It is located in Central Georgia and gets full sun on sandy soil.

ANSWER:

As you indicated, there are two issues to address: soil retention and soil improvement.  For the areas most susceptible to erosion, native grasses will do the best job of holding the soil and preventing loss during times of heavy rain.  The parts of your field less susceptible to erosion loss can be planted with fewer grasses and more nitrogen-fixing legumes, though a mix of both should be planted in all areas. 

Some useful native grasses are: Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem), Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) and Panicum virgatum (switchgrass).

Some native legumes that will fix nitrogen in your soil are Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea)Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Desmodium spp.,  Galactia spp., Lespedeza spp., Stylosanthes biflora (sidebeak pencilflower), Tephrosia spp., and Pediomelum canescens (buckroot).

Although we do not recommend non-native species, a grass and a legume often used for soil retention and improvement are Annual ryegrass, Lolium perenne ssp. multiflorum and Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum.

Your county Cooperative Extension Service agent should also be able to give you some valuable advice on soil conseration in your area.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replacing hawthorn bush with muhly grass from Plano TX
April 10, 2014 - I am thinking of replacing a hawthorn bush with a muhly grass plant or two in an edged area with river rock cover in Plano, texas. It is the black soil and not a sandy loam. We have a sprinkler syst...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Horse pasture seeds from Pawling NY
April 19, 2013 - We are getting ready to seed an area to be used as horse pasture some time in the future. What seed mix should we use to create an organic horse pasture in Pawling, NY. Ideally there would be some wil...
view the full question and answer

Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
July 02, 2013 - We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-...
view the full question and answer

Can two species of Muhlenbergia be cross-pollinated from Portal AZ
July 17, 2012 - Will Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Big Muhly) cross-pollinate with Muhlenbergia porteri (Bush Muhly)? I am attempting to restore the grasslands on my private property to a pre-1900 state. Bush Muhly was a...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center