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

Erosion under a Live Oak in Edom TX
March 31, 2009 - We have a large Live Oak tree in the front yard that I wouldn't part with for the world. The soil is almost solid sand underneath the tree, and in deep shade. It is on a slight slope and eroding wi...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
May 30, 2008 - We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The ...
view the full question and answer

Limiting erosion around pond from Brooklyn Park MN
May 20, 2013 - Minnesota resident, wants to find plant limit erosion from pond?
view the full question and answer

Native border plants to stop erosion
February 18, 2015 - I need native border plants to assist in stopping soil erosion due to water run off from rain and the Catawba River.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for erosion protection in Arlington TX
March 29, 2010 - We live on Johnson Creek in Arlington, Tx. We have recently had to move our fenceline in because the erosion on the creek has collapsed a portion of our retaining wall. I would like to plant somethi...
view the full question and answer

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