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

Sunday - November 21, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft deep. That's why they can survive our dry summers and provide superb erosion control value.

ANSWER:

You are absolutely right that bunch grasses with their extensive fibrous root systems are excellent plants for erosion control.  Grasses are usually the first plants I recommend for steep slopes that are eroding.  Thank you for pointing out my omission of them—I should be ashamed (and I truly am!) that I failed to mention them in the answer you are referring to.   Here are a few suggested ones that occur in the area of Studio City, California (the location of the question mentioned above):

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Elymus glaucus (Blue wild rye) occurs over most of California.  Here are photos and more information.

Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hairgrass)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie junegrass)

Muhlenbergia rigens (Deergrass)

Nassela pulchra (Purple needlegrass), the state grass of California, is an important grass for erosion control.  You can read about it and see photos of it and other native California grasses in Landowner's Guide to Native Grass Enhancement and Restoration from the Hastings Natural History Reservation of the California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

You can also find more California native bunch grasses listed on the Larner Seeds web page.  Larner Seeds is one of the seed companies listed in our National Suppliers Directory specializing in native plants in California and is based in Bolinas, CA.

Here are photos of some of the grasses listed above from our Image Gallery:


Achnatherum hymenoides


Deschampsia cespitosa


Koeleria macrantha


Muhlenbergia rigens

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Ground cover for a bank in PA
April 28, 2012 - I live in Landisburg, PA, (zone 6). I need to find some ground cover for a primarily full sun bank that is roughly 10-12' down over the embankment and up to 100' long. This area wraps around our po...
view the full question and answer

Need erosion control in Granite Falls, NC
October 11, 2010 - 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?
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

Erosion Control in Bartlesville OK
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?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover plants for erosion problem in Orlando
June 01, 2009 - Hi, I live in Orlando, and have a terrible erosion problem on one side of my back yard. Every time it rains, I lose my yard under the fence! The area is part sun. Can you please suggest a plant or ...
view the full question and answer

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