En EspaŅol

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
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

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

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008 - I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer

Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
June 26, 2008 - I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a p...
view the full question and answer

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for steep slope in West Virginia
October 05, 2008 - I live in Zone 6 (Eastern Panhandle of WV). I have a rocky, claylike steep slope (30-40% grade, about 50 feet wide and 20 feet long, it sits in the afternoon sun). So I need to plant erosion-control p...
view the full question and answer

California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
November 21, 2010 - In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft de...
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