En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Replenishing a fallow field in Central Geogia.

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

Native lawn replacement for shady areas in Austin
September 11, 2013 - Our front lawn was totally destroyed this summer during some remodeling construction. I am interested in replacing it with native grasses, but we have several oak trees that keep the area fairly shady...
view the full question and answer

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
May 24, 2012 - We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center