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

Thursday - April 21, 2011

From: Ipava, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Plants for erosion control in IL
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Steep 40ft slope in rural Illinois with Sandy soil. Recently several trees slid down this slope due to wet conditions. We need any inexpensive plants to hold the hillside in check before erosion creeps and causes cabin damage.

ANSWER:

Your best bet are ornamental grasses.  Their fibrous root systems make them drought tolerant (a necessity in the quick draining, sandy conditions you describe) and help them hold the soil.  There are also a number of native prairie wildflowers that fit the bill and will help transfrm your slope from a liability to a native meadow planting that is not only pretty to look at, but provides wildlife habitat as well.

You can generate lists of native plants by visiting our Native Plant Database and doing a Combination Search. Select: Illinois/grasses(or herbaceous plants) and the light and soil conditions.  I suspect that even though you had a slide due to wet conditions, once you have the slope stablilized the conditions will actually be dry due to rapid drainage from the steep slope and sandy soil.

You will ultimately be limited by what plants are available in the nurseries but here are some plants from those lists we think will work for you:

Grasses

Ammophila breviligulata (American beach grass)

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Calamagrostis canadensis (Bluejoint)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Perennials (wildflowers)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Centaurea americana (American basket-flower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Liatris aspera var. intermedia (Intermediate rough gayfeather)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca (Narrowleaf evening-primrose)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)


Ammophila breviligulata

Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon glomeratus

Calamagrostis canadensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Panicum virgatum

 

Aquilegia canadensis

Centaurea americana

Coreopsis lanceolata

 

Liatris aspera var. intermedia

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca

Rudbeckia hirta


Solidago canadensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Retention ponds for states in southeast, from Greenville SC
July 14, 2012 - We provide maintenance for Stormwater detention ponds and are looking for native grasses to plant in the bottom and sides of typically dry detention basins. Prefer low growing grasses that spread to...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008 - I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover plants for slope to prevent erosion
June 05, 2008 - Hi, I have just made a 3/4 acre pond and the south facing slope is too steep to mow.Can you suggest any ground cover plants I could use to look nice and prevent erosion.
view the full question and answer

slope stabilization in Massachusetts
January 09, 2012 - My family and I recently put in a 120 x 100 horseback riding ring. It had to be built up in the back and, as a result, there is a 10 foot slope which could use stabilization. What plants native to Mas...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center