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

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 to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
April 09, 2007 - I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the pl...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion for check dam in San Antonio
February 13, 2009 - What are the best trees for a shallow soil wind break in San Antonio? I am building a check dam (maybe 2' deep by 20' wide tall) over a shallow limestone gully to slow the erosion. the gully drai...
view the full question and answer

Plants for curb appeal from Birmingham AL
June 16, 2011 - My front yard is on a down hill slope. Can you recommend some plants that would be good for creating curb appeal that will be planted up against the house? We need some that are short around 2 feet ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center