En Español

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
1 rating

Saturday - November 13, 2010

From: Studio City,, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control, Shrubs
Title: Plants for steep slope in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that you know of would be great. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Well, I'm not going to be able to give you a list of plants with descriptions of their root systems, but I am going to recommend that you read an article, Simple Erosion Control for a Hillside or Garden Slope, from Las Pilitas Nursery that specializes in California native plants with locations in Santa Margarita and Escondido.  They have a lot of useful information about controlling erosion and they offer lists of plants for slopes or you can use their search engine, MyNativePlants.com, to find plants that match your slope's characteristics.  They do recommend that you mix a variety of different plants on your slopes.  Here are some possibilities:

Most Arctostphylos species, for example:

Arctostaphylos pungens (Pointleaf manzanita)

Arctostaphylos patula (Greenleaf manzanita)

Many of the Ceanothus species, for example:

Ceanothus greggii (Desert ceanothus)

Ceanothus griseus (Carmel ceanothus)

And, a variety of other species:

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat)

 Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus (Orange bush monkeyflower)

Salvia columbariae (California sage)

Salvia sonomensis (Creeping sage)

Cleome isomeris (Bladderpod spiderflower)

Dendromecon rigida (Tree poppy)

Purshia tridentata (Antelope bitterbrush)

You can find other suitable plants on our California-Southern Recommended list.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos pungens


Arctostaphylos patula


Ceanothus greggii


Ceanothus griseus


Eriogonum fasciculatum


Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus


Salvia columbariae


Salvia sonomensis


Cleome isomeris


Dendromecon rigida


Purshia tridentata

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion control in Ohio
April 23, 2014 - We live on the north side of the Maumee River in Toledo, OH. We are looking to plant something low (3' max) that will stabilize the very steep hill leading down to the river, preventing erosion. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Phytoremediation using Paspalum vaginatum
February 06, 2015 - Do you know of any on-going research using Paspalum vaginatum as the prime plant (monoculture) for use in phytoremediation. Utilizing this plant in Vegetated Swales, Spreader Swales, Grassy Swales,...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Connecticut sandy gravel bank
January 11, 2012 - What ground cover plant can I use on a sandy gravel bank behind my house?
view the full question and answer

Erosion preventing plants for West Virginia
July 16, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and I've got a hillside that's too steep to mow. I'd like to put in plants that other than weeding and regular tending, will...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center