En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Erosion control in Grayson, LA

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 02, 2010

From: Grayson, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control in Grayson, LA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in northern Louisiana. We have a small hill beside our carport that washes. What can we plant to help keep this from washing that will stay green all year long?

ANSWER:

Since you did not specify the sun exposure on your slope, nor say how steep it is, we can only give you a general answer, based on a previous answer which involved the same general climate and USDA Hardiness Zone of 8a. We also cannot guarantee that the area will stay green all year. With careful choices of which plants, the area will, at the very least, stay attractive all year. 

Grasses and sedges are excellent choices for erosion control.  Their extensive fibrous roots will help to hold the sandy soil in place. You will need to read the "Growing Conditions" for each species recommended below to see if their requirements for light, moisture and soil type match the conditions at your site.  Here are some suggestions for grasses native to your area:

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) 4 to 8 feet tall and grows in sun (6 hours or more of sun per day) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day).

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) 2 to 3 feet and grows in sun or part shade.

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) 3 to 12 inches and does very well in sun but not very well in part shade or shade (less than 2 hours sun per day).

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) 12-14 inches and, like buffalograss, prefers full sun.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) 2 to 4 feet and grows in part shade or shade.

Muhlenbergia reverchonii (seep muhly) 2 to 3.5 feet and grows best in sun.

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) 3 to 6 feet and grows in sun or part shade.

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass) 1 to 1.5 feet and grows in sun or part shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) 1.5 to 3 feet and grows in sun or part shade.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) 3 to 8 feet and grows in sun, part shade or shade.

Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass) 2 to 3 feet but can reach 10 feet and grows best in part shade.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) grows to 12 inches and in sun, part shade, or shade.

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) 12 to 18 inches and grows in part shade.

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge) grows to 12 inches and grows in part shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) 10 to 12 inches and grows in sun and part shade.

Although you are not creating a meadow or a lawn, "Meadow Gardening" and "Native Lawns" in our HOW TO ARTICLES have useful hints for planting and maintaining native grasses.  You can also include some wildflowers with your grass species in your planting but the grasses should be predominant for the best erosion control.  You can see a variety of wildflowers for your area in our Recommended Species list, click on Louisiana on the map, indicating herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), annual, sunlight available; you can check our National Suppliers Directory for seed companies and nurseries that specialize in native plants near you.

I don't know how large an area you need to cover.  If it is small you might be able to use grass plugs.  However, if it is a large area, seeds may be a better solution.  Since you indicate that the slope is steep you might consider using an erosion control blanket.  The erosion-control fabric works by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediments to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. You can also insert plants into the soil by cutting through the matting. The roots of the plants that are growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem.  Many nurseries carry this erosion control fabric. 

Here are a few selected photos from our Image Gallery of the grasses and sedges listed above:

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion control for steep slope in Southern California
June 05, 2013 - I need help for soil erosion control for a steep slope in sunny Southern California. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plantings for sides of retention pond in Willits CA
July 02, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for ground cover for the outside of embankments which impound wastewater. This is to improve the aesthetics and deter weeds. The slopes are 1V:2H, so if we can avoid...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
view the full question and answer

Possibilities of plants for bank shale ledge in Johnstown, PA
April 20, 2008 - We have a mountain that we ripped out to build our house. The remaining ledge is mostly bank shale and everyone is telling us that nothing will grow on the hillside due to it being bank shale and a p...
view the full question and answer

Removing Texas cedar Juniperus ashei from Blanco River banks
February 26, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Should cedar trees be removed from our Blanco River banks to prevent them from sucking too much of our precious water before it makes it into the river system? If so, what s...
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