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

Tuesday - October 26, 2010

From: North Augusta , SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants for erosion control along creek in South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a creek that runs thru our property and it is eroding our rip rap. The creek runs head on into an embankment which is causing the worse issue. Is there anything we can plant to help stop the erosion. We live on the Savannah River.

ANSWER:

I will suggest some plants that could help, but you may need to use additional measures to keep your streambank from eroding.  There are various biotechnical methods to stabilize streambanks and you can read about them in this excellent article from the USDA National Agroforestry Center, Biotechnical Streambank Protection: The use of plants to stabilize streambanks (Agroforestry Note #23, March 2002).  The article describes various streambank erosion problems and suggested solutions.  For slopes that are normally above the creek level grasses are very effective.  They have fibrous roots systems that are very good at holding the soil in place.  If you are experiencing a significant amount of runoff down the slope, you might want to consider laying down erosion control blankets (available at most plant nurseries) before spreading grass seeds.  Nearer to stream level you will want to have plants such as willows that can tolerate growing in very wet soils or even immerged in the water for periods of time. 

Here are some suggestions for grasses that do well in moist areas that you could plant on the slope above the stream.  Some of these will also grow near the stream edge.  There are suggestions for woody plants that will grow well closer to the creek edge.  Since I don't know the situation at your site for available sunlight and type of soil, you will need to check carefully the GROWING CONDITIONS on each of the species pages to be certain that they are compatible with your site.

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem) grows well in wet areas and prefers full sun.

Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge bluestem) is recommended for erosion control and grows in part shade.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) grows in moist soils in sun, part shade or shade.

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) grows in moist soils in part shade.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) prefers shade or part shade and moist soils.

Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Jamaica swamp sawgrass) grows at the edges of streams in sun and part shade.

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) grows along streambanks in sun or part shade.

Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass) likes part shade and grows in moist areas or along streambanks.

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush) grows in moist areas and will grow in standing water in shade or part shade.

Salix humilis (Prairie willow) grows in sun along streambanks.

Salix nigra (Black willow) grows in sun, part shade and shade along streambanks.

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry) grows in part shade and is good for erosion control in moist areas.

Forestiera acuminata (Eastern swamp-privet) will grow in moist soil or standing water in part shade.

Alnus serrulata (Hazel alder) grows in sun, part shade and shade on stream banks and other wet areas.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Andropogon glomeratus


Andropogon virginicus


Carex blanda


Carex cherokeensis


Chasmanthium latifolium


Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense


Panicum virgatum


Tripsacum dactyloides


Cephalanthus occidentalis


Salix humilis


Salix nigra


Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis


Forestiera acuminata


Alnus serrulata

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Non-allergenic landscape in Fairfield, CT
April 18, 2009 - I live in Fairfield, CT and need to have a non-allergenic landscape. Can you please list plants, ground covers, and trees/shrubs that would be beautiful, and help in this critical situation? The lan...
view the full question and answer

Chesapeake Bay Erosion Control from White Stone VA
January 14, 2012 - Native Wetland Plants for Chesapeake Bay Erosion Control -- I have a wooded lot (pine and hardwoods)leading to 4-5 ft. wide flat shoreline edged with riprap. What native wetland plants survive salt wa...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for creekside erosion control
December 16, 2006 - I need advice on what native plants I can use to slow erosion by my creek. The watershed for a large area ends up at my place, and nothing is growing where most of the runoff flows. I've got braken...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stop erosion on sandy slope in north central Texas
November 27, 2009 - We have severe erosion problems that lead to a deep ravine. There are deer in the area and the soil is sandy on a slope. What would be the best long term solution to stop or control this erosion. Th...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Solution for Lorton, VA
February 07, 2014 - We have a steep slope in our common area of our homeowners association. Trees that were planted have died. It is a large area around a pond. What should we plant that will hold the soil? The soil...
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