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Mr. Smarty Plants - Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia

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Sunday - May 01, 2011

From: Savannah, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I've been tasked with identifying native grass varieties or mixes (Coastal Georgia) that can be used for erosion control on sandy slopes created from dredged river sediment and that receive lots of sun. Ideally, it could be planted any time of the year. Any thoughts?

ANSWER:

The following grasses and grass-like plants are found on the Georgia coast and are adapted to growing in sand.  You didn't mention how far from the ocean and ocean spray the area is and whether the grasses need to be salt tolerant.  The Native Plant Society of Florida has a list of Natives to Grow in Nassau County (the coastal county adjacent to Georgia) with indications of salt tolerance so I have added this information for the grasses that occur on their list.  Some of these grasses require more water than the others.  You should check the GROWING CONDITIONS on each of the species page to determine if they are compatible with your site.

Spartina patens (Marsh-hay cord grass) highly salt tolerant.  Here are photos and more information about both S. patens and S. alterniflora.

Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh cordgrass)

Uniola paniculata (Sea oats) highly salt and drought tolerant.

Sorghastrum secundum (lopsided Indiangrass).  The Florida NPSOT lists this grass as highly salt and drought tolerant; however, the Institute for Regional Conservation says it is not highly salt tolerant.

Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass) highly salt tolerant.

Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Jamaica swamp sawgrass) highly salt tolerant.

 Triplasis purpurea (Purple sandgrass)Here are photos and more information.

Eleocharis montevidensis (Sand spikerush)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

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


Uniola paniculata


Tripsacum dactyloides


Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense


Spartina alterniflora


Eleocharis montevidensis


Panicum virgatum

 


 

 

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