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 - August 30, 2010

From: Fairmont, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native plants for controlling erosion in Fairmont WV
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. The area is partly shaded.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a candidate for a Meadow Garden. Please read our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening for more information.This will involve self-seeding annual wildflowers, perennial flowers that will come up from roots, and a variety of grasses.  Although these should probably all be seeded in the Spring in your area, which is USDA Hardiness Zone 6a, that is also a difficult time because of spring rains. To prevent seeds from washing away and then sprouting somewhere you didn't want them, we suggest you investigate an erosion control blanket. These will help to hold the soil, in which the seeds have been planted, long enough for them to sprout and begin to put down roots to hold the plant and the soil in place. Many of these blankets are biodegradable and will eventually decompose into the soil, leaving the mature plants to do the job.

We particularly recommend grasses for an eroding slope, because they have long fibrous roots that will grip the soil and keep it in place. These are not lawn grasses to be mowed, but more like prairie grasses. We will be choosing grasses that grow natively around Marion County, so they should have no problems adapting to your soil and climate. From our Native Plant Database, we will choose grasses that we feel will suit your purpose, selecting on "part shade," which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours of sun daily. From our Recommended Species for Vermont, we will also choose some herbaceous blooming plants to provide color. We will not recommend any shrubs because woody plants will take over a meadow garden if you are not vigilant. All of these will fit into the goal of having a wildflower meadow. Follow each plant link to the page in our database on that particular plant to learn what its growing conditions and moisture requirements are. You can do your own search using the same techniques, and find other plants that better suit you. 

West Virginia native grasses for erosion:

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens)

West Virginia native herbaceous blooming plants for a meadow garden: 

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Andropogon gerardii

Carex blanda

Calamagrostis canadensis

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

Aquilegia canadensis

Conoclinium coelestinum

Monarda didyma

Lobelia siphilitica

Coreopsis tinctoria

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Landscaping large area in Webster KY
February 10, 2012 - We just bought a house that we fell in love with. The land around it . . . well it has GREAT potential but is seriously lacking at the moment. Trying to get the farm up and running leaves very litt...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in horse pasture
April 26, 2010 - I have erosion on a slope, southwestern facing, minimal shade in Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA. The soil is rocky and clayish. The hillside is in the middle of a horse paddock and barn. What plants woul...
view the full question and answer

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shade from Atlanta GA
May 28, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for a ground cover. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and have a large shady slope on which I would like to use low maintenance/water native ground cover. What wou...
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