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

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

Plants to stem bank erosion in Ponder, Texas
May 07, 2010 - We have a pond with a bridge over the middle in full sun with a steep bank on one side. The bank is difficult to maintain and we need some natural looking low maintenance plants or ground cover to pl...
view the full question and answer

Use of native grasses as erosion control in Austin, TX
June 20, 2006 - We're in Austin, TX and trying to keep our neighborhood lot as natural as possible; however, our lot is eroding and depositing mud and dirt onto the sidewalk whenever it rains. We're looking for an ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to control hillside erosion in Vermont
May 23, 2008 - Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Vermont. What kinds of plants would hold together a hillside and could be planted in ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in West Mifflin PA
November 23, 2009 - I have recently had a retaining wall rebuilt in my back yard and an above the ground pool installed. My lawn is uneven with no grass and the hillside is very dry dirt with rocks. What type of plant ...
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

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