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

Saturday - April 16, 2011

From: Buford, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Preventing erosion on a sloping lot
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I am trying to find a native plant to use on a sloped area in my back yard to help prevent the slope from eroding away (zone 7- N. Atlanta, GA). I want something evergreen, between 6 to 30 inches tall, and somewhat fast growing. The slope gets about a half day's sun and ends in a natural wooded/stream area. Thank you!

ANSWER:

My goodness! Georgia must be a hilly place as we get many requests for slope plantings there. I am going to consider your request specifically but you may want to check other responses to this problem. To do so, click on Mr. Smarty Plants on our web site, in the upper right corner under Search put "plants for a slope in Georgia", and be amazed at the response.

To prevent erosion on a slope, you want a plant that forms a dense, fibrous root system. That usually means grasses, sedges or ferns. Grass tends to grow tall; ferns and sedges are evergreen and closer to your height preference. I've selected some plants close to matching your height requirements. Light requirement for a sun-loving plant is 6 or more hours daily, for part shade 2-6 hours, and less than 2 hours for shade. Many plants are quite tolerant of any amount of light and/or moisture. Here are a few for you to consider.

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) 2-3 feet; sun, part shade.

Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama) 10-18 inches; part shade.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) 1-2.5 feet; part shade, shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) 18-24 inches dense mound, will shoot stems to 3 feet in fall; sun, part shade.

Sedges

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) 12-18 inches; part shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) 10-12 inches; sun, part shade.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) 1-3 feet; sun, part shade, shade.

Ferns

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; easily established.

Asplenium platyneuron (Ebony spleenwort) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade.

Thelypteris noveboracensis (New york fern) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade; spreads rapidly into dense colonies.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; appropriate near the pond.

Shrub

Gaylussacia dumosa (Dwarf huckleberry) 3-15 inches; part shade; slower growing ground cover that thrives at margins of ponds.


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bouteloua hirsuta


Muhlenbergia schreberi


Schizachyrium scoparium


Carex cherokeensis


Carex texensis


Carex blanda


Polystichum acrostichoides


Asplenium platyneuron


Thelypteris noveboracensis


Woodwardia areolata


Gaylussacia dumosa

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for erosion control in southern Maryland
September 03, 2009 - Would you recommend a plant that would act as erosion control for woodlands in Southern Maryland? The soil has a high clay content with a mature hardwoods population.The current erosion is significant...
view the full question and answer

Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
May 27, 2009 - I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots g...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for landscaping along a creek in Lenoir, NC
July 25, 2011 - I live in Lenoir, NC and would like to landscape my creek bank that is about 90 feet long and is 200 feet from my house. I thought about evergeen bushes maybe rhododendron; some grasses; a few trees ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover that won't hide snakes from Asheville NC
June 29, 2012 - I have an unusual situation: several bare areas in an otherwise wooded area, which receive partial sun, and are not near water -- it rains here frequently, but the soil can become quite dry at times. ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Charleston WV
August 26, 2009 - I live in Charleston, WV and just purchased a home that has a hill side out back that has some erosion occurring. I was wondering what would be the best ground cover to plant in my area to control the...
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