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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 11, 2010

From: Lake Worth, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Need erosion control in Granite Falls, NC
Answered by: Marilyn KIrcus

QUESTION:

In Granite Falls, NC we have a sloping area at the end of the driveway that needs plants that will keep the ground from eroding. What do you suggest?

ANSWER:

We have already answered a question about erosion in North Carolina.  Here is the link to it. And here is another erosion solution that suggests building a series of rain gardens. (And remember, if you make a rain garden, you are making several microclimates for moisture. You'll be able to grow plants that like a lot of moisture where your rain garden is the deepest and plants that like drier conditions higher up.) There are over 100 answers to questions  about erosion and, since Mr. Smarty Plants is a group of people, by reading the answers for the state of North Carolina and some of the states close to it, you will get lots of ideas.

I don't know if you have sun or shade or part shade or if your soil is clay, loam, or sand. But you can select for grasses that match some of your requirements by following the directions below. Then you'll have to read the article about each plant to see if it will grow in your kind of soil.  Grasses are really good for erosion control because they have such deep and massive roots.  More of their total mass is below ground than above ground. For a small spot, which I think you have, you can either buy seed and start it in a deep flat - I use dishpans from the dollar store with holes melted into them or drilled into them- or wait until spring and then buy 4 inch pots and set the grasses out by the spacing they need to grow or a little closer, to fill in quicker. If you choose to use a mix of grasses, plant groups of maybe 5, 7, 9, or 11 plants in a group so you will get a lovely billowy effect.  You can also add some sages or other large wildflowers for a little accent here and there, again making sure you have a space of at least 2-3 feet wide and deep of one plant.

Just make sure that the plants you choose match your soil and light at the site. To do this quickly, you can do the following:

  1. Go to our webpage and click on our Plant Database.
  2. Scroll down until you see the map of the US and click on it.
  3. Click on your state to get the recommended plant list for your state
  4. Scroll down and look at the right column to narrow your search.  Choose grasses that will grow in your kind of soil moisture and your kind of light.
  5. You can repeat this search for other kinds of plants or just read about each plant by clicking on the link to it.

 

 

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May 10, 2012 - What kind of plants can we use to stop erosion and loss of bank on a creek that is mostly shaded? Is there any free advice/plants for people that are losing land due to water levels rising/dropping?
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September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
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Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
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O.K. to grow grass under a live oak?
November 26, 2014 - Is it a bad idea to plant grass around a mature live oak? We have erosion issues and trying to keep mulch in the beds around the tree groves is a challenge, even with edging. Much of the native dirt...
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