Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - August 28, 2010

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Erosion control plants for Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live just outside of Fort Worth and I have an area of my yard that is steeply sloped. I would like some type of plant or grass that can be used to control erosion and not need to be cut too often, if possible. I have a 4 year old Bermuda grass lawn adjacent to the area in question.

ANSWER:

You did not say what the sun exposure on the slope is, and that can be important in selecting plants for an area. However, we can give you several suggestions and by following the plant links to the individual pages on those plants, you will find out how much sun they need, moisture, growing conditions and so forth.

Native grasses, adapted to your climate and rainfall, are always the best choice for erosion control. They have long fibrous roots that will grab the soil and hold it. These are not lawn grasses, that are mowed every week, but prairie grasses, which can be cut down to about 6" every Spring.

We will go to our Recommended Species section, select North Central Texas from the map, and then select on "grass and grass-like plants" under General Appearance. We will check with the USDA  Plant Profiles in each grass we select to make sure it grows in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, so the climate, soils and rainfall should be acceptable for those grasses. Native American Seed has an excellent article on Planting Tips for Native Grasses. You should also check out their catalog for grass mixes that might work in your situation, such as Thunder Turf (for sun), Blackland Prairie Mix (also full sun) or Shade-Friendly Grass Mixes. Mixes tend to be more satisfactory because of the diversity, allowing the area to nearly always have some plants that are attractive. 

You will notice that the article on native grasses we referred you to recommends planting grass seed in the Spring, because that is when the seeds germinate anyway. Depending on how steep your slope is, you may need to use an erosion control blanket. If you sprinkle grass seed on a hillside in the Spring, the first rain is going to wash it all down to the bottom of the slope, possibly on someone else's property, who isn't thrilled with that. There are a number of brands and types of these blankets that should be available at large home improvement and garden stores, with instructions for their use.

Grasses for erosion control in Burleson TX:

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly)

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

From the Native Plant Image Gallery:


Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Poa arachnifera

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Wildflowers for high canal bank in Florida
May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
view the full question and answer

Controlling slugs in a Pacific Northwest strawberry patch
February 04, 2013 - Would love to plant various varieties of strawberries on a bank for erosion control and ground cover. How can we keep the slugs at bay? We are in the the Pacific Northwest
view the full question and answer

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control in a Mid-Atlantic Shoreline
April 09, 2012 - My family owns a riverfront property off of Machodoc Creek which runs into the Potomac on the Virginia side. The water is roughly 3 feet deep at the shoreline and concrete cylinders are used to contro...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for sides of retention pond in Willits CA
July 02, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for ground cover for the outside of embankments which impound wastewater. This is to improve the aesthetics and deter weeds. The slopes are 1V:2H, so if we can avoid...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.