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

Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
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 to stop erosion on land near lake
June 17, 2008 - My back yard runs down to the lake. The water is eroding my land. I want plants & flowers [full sun]that can be planted to stop the erosion and add color. Another question: We have a huge oak tree ...
view the full question and answer

Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
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