Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Friday - May 06, 2011

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses to stabilize creek bed in Bastrop County, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, we have property in Bastrop county, the soil is sandy loam with clay underneath. We need to stabilize a creek bed, can you suggest any particular grasses (seed) for this? Know it's not the best time of year but need to get something down and then pray for a bit of rain. Was thinking a native grass mix..?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants isn't sure exactly what you are wanting to do.  Is the creek bed always dry?   Are you wanting to stabilize sloping banks along the stream or a meadow-type area beside it?  If you are looking for a mix of grasses and wildflowers to fill a meadow around the creek, the Coastal Prairie mix from Native American Seed would be a good fit for your area since you live in Bastrop, a unique region with its pines at the edge of the Blackland Prairie and Edwards Plateau.  Starting the project arlier in the spring (March and early April) would have been better, but it could still work if you are willing to give the seeds water to germinate and establish them—and if you prepare the ground.  In order to germinate, the seeds must be in contact with the soil.  If the soil can be raked or lightly tilled it will be even better.  Our How-to Article, Meadow Gardening, has helpful advice and as well as the article, A Guide to Native Plant Gardening.

If you are trying to stabilize sloping banks along the stream, you might consider Native American Seed's Dam Slope Mix, that consists of several different hardy native grasses.  To keep the seeds from washing off any slope that you might have, you could consider using erosion control blankets.  The erosion-control fabric works by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediments to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate.

If the edges of the creek bed or the area around it stays moist or will be inundated when it rains, you need to think of different grasses or other plants to use there.  For instance, most sedges (e.g., Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)) do well in wet areas.  Grasses such as Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem), Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) and Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass) do well along damp stream banks.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
May 08, 2009 - We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like som...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for shady areas in San Antonio TX
November 08, 2013 - Will the Habiturf grass mentioned here do well in shady areas too?
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Arisaema triphyllum as an insect eater
April 14, 2007 - Is the Jack in the Pulpit an insect eater?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.