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

Ground cover for Connecticut sandy gravel bank
January 11, 2012 - What ground cover plant can I use on a sandy gravel bank behind my house?
view the full question and answer

Need plants to control erosion on a hillside in Nashville, TN.
February 28, 2012 - Recently, a rogue contractor scraped all the sod off of my Tennessee hillside. Now the clay soil is exposed and washing away quickly. The hill slope is approximately 30 degrees. In the spring I'd ...
view the full question and answer

Stabilizing a sand bank in VT
August 13, 2011 - We have a summer cottage in Burlington, Vt. and need to stabilize a mound of sand. The "bank" we are trying to stabilize has partial sun and faces south. It measures approx 4' high and is 30' long...
view the full question and answer

Preventing Soil Erosion in Elgin, Texas
June 06, 2011 - I live in Elgin,TX and our property is basically a slope with dense oak and cedar trees on the back of the property. The soil is sandy loam. What type of native plants or grasses can I plant to stop...
view the full question and answer

Long Island Barrier Beach Plants
April 22, 2013 - I live on the south shore of Long Island on a barrier beach and am landscaping my property as a result of Sandy damage. I am going with a sand base, and I am looking for suitable trees and shrubs for...
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