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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Cumming, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants for erosion control in Georgia
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a question regarding water run-off coming from the neighbors yard as my yard is below their yard. What kind of ground cover would grow very quickly (low to ground) to help with the run-off and erosion control. I am in zone 7 (North East Atlanta) and my lot is somewhat woody. This area will have some sun to partial shade. I have looked at Blue Pacific Juniper's as a possibility. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

The issue of stormwater runoff and erosion from a neighbor's property can be a delicate one.  In most communities there are bylaws stating that you must prevent runoff onto adjacent property, but bringing up the subject can be uncomfortable.

If you have a good relationship with your neighbour you may be able to shape the land on both properties anough to create a series of rain gardens. Simply put, a rain garden is a depression in the garden that slows down the flow of water, allowing it to infiltrate the soil instead of allowing it to rush downhill carriying topsoil and pollutants with it.  The depression is planted with plants that are adapted to conditions alternating between very wet and very dry. You will find a very comprehension publication about rain gardens, along with instructions and plant lists published by the Clean Water Campaign in Atlanta by following this link. Clean Water Atlanta also has a publication and a suggested plant list.

If the project is too daunting, at the very least you will want to do some planting to prevent further erosion.  You are looking for plants with a fibrous root system and/or that spread by underground runners. Because you say your property is woody, the soil may be dry.  You can search our Native Plant Database for suitable plants by doing a Combination Search for Georgia and then selecting the light and moisture conditions on your site.  You can search for herbaceous plants, shrubs and grasses separately. The lists the database generates have links to detailed information pages about each plant where you can read about its root system and how rapidly each plant spreads.  Grasses are ideal plants for these conditions, but you may find most of them to be taller than you want.

Here are a few suggestions selected from those lists:

Perennials

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Glandularia bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Polygonatum biflorum (smooth Solomon's seal)

Rubus trivialis (southern dewberry)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Small shrubs

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)


Asclepias tuberosa

Glandularia bipinnatifida

Mitchella repens

Monarda fistulosa

Polygonatum biflorum

Rubus trivialis

Tradescantia ohiensis

Comptonia peregrina

Gaultheria procumbens

Hypericum prolificum

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants to control hillside erosion in Virginia.
November 21, 2007 - Good Morning, Mr Smarty Plants, I need your advice and guidance. I live in a condo complex in Virginia and we have a hill/slope that is eroding. It also has two very nice tall trees that partially sh...
view the full question and answer

Stopping Soil Erosion on a Slope
May 13, 2013 - I live in Bonaire, GA and have a slope in my back yard. The soil is red clay and it gets sun most of the day. A small section of this slope tends to have a mudslide to the bottom of the slope. How ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
June 22, 2011 - What is the best grass seed for erosion control in Austin, TX - Shoal Creek goes through my back yard and I need to seed some areas and it gets lots of sun.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
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