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
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

Survival of native lawn in Hockley TX
August 02, 2011 - I'm on the edge of the Katy Prairie and a very large ranch with full blasting sun and completely open exposure. The soil is fill from the developers with more clay than sand, a minimum of nutrients,...
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for Georgia
March 26, 2009 - I am new to Georgia by way of Colorado and would like to plant a drought resistant, tough grass/sod alternative in my backyard. Would buffalo / grama grass do ok in this climate? My backyard doesn’t...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
July 12, 2011 - What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
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