En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Erosion control for steep creek bank in Tennessee

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

Saturday - June 12, 2010

From: Woodlawn, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control for steep creek bank in Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have creek bank erosion problems in Woodlawn, Tennessee, northwest of Nashville. What plants can I place there. The bank is approximately 12ft almost vertical.

ANSWER:

We recommend grasses for controlling erosion because of their extensive fibrous root systems that serve to hold the soil in place.  However, seeding grass is not the whole process.  The seeds need moisture to germinate.  If the moisture comes in the form of rain, it is likely to wash the seeds down your steep bank  before that have a chance to germinate and take root.  One possible solution is to use 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 some candidate grasses and sedges native to your area.  Since I don't know all the growing conditions (e.g., available sun and moisture) at your site, you should check the GROWING CONDITIONS section for each species to determine if it is suitable for your site:

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Here are some other plants that you could use on the bank.

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) would do well at the base of the bluff on the edge of the creek.

Ferns would work in mostly shady areas.  Here are a few suggested ones.

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)


Andropogon virginicus

Carex blanda

Chasmanthium latifolium

Eragrostis intermedia

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Artemisia ludoviciana

Conoclinium coelestinum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Dryopteris marginalis

Osmunda cinnamomea

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida
November 04, 2012 - I live on a hill and put in a new side driveway and now I am seeing erosion along the driveway and can see the bottom of my concrete. Grass won't grow because its all shaded. What would be the best g...
view the full question and answer

Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
May 27, 2009 - I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots g...
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

Erosion control blankets for controlling slope in North Carolina
April 11, 2007 - We live in NC (red clay dirt). We recently/in the process of installing a pool. They contractor has completely unearthed our entire yard - and part of our property is on a substantial hill. Is there...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop erosion in Arizona
January 17, 2009 - I'm looking for a plant to stop erosion; I have big wash outs that are starting to erode my yard so I guess I'm looking for deep rooting plants. I live south of Tucson, Arizona. If you can advise me...
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