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?


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 - 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


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?


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




More Erosion Control Questions

Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
June 22, 2011 - What is the best grass seed for erosion control in Austin, TX - Shoal Creek goes through my back yard and I need to seed some areas and it gets lots of sun.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and small trees for a slope in NY
May 21, 2012 - We are looking for a living wall made of shrubs / small trees - no more than 25' for the top of a steep creek bed. We are looking for the best erosion preventing types.
view the full question and answer

Native plants and grasses for river bank from Rosanky TX
February 19, 2014 - Our property owners association would like to know what native plants/grasses to plant on the Blanco River bank in our river park to help prevent erosion. Some banks are steep and some areas are a gra...
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center