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

Controlling weeds in Habiturf lawn
May 16, 2015 - What's the best way to get rid of weeds in a Habiturf lawn? Habiturf seems like a great idea, but even with no extra water and no fertilizer, it seems the weeds take over - K.R. Bluestem and various...
view the full question and answer

Removal of weeds in buffalograss mix in Houston
June 15, 2009 - I recently attempted to seed a small lawn area with a buffalo/blue grama grass mix, unfortunately for me the area has been hit hard with weeds. Is there an environmentally friendly method to reduce...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
March 15, 2013 - What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?
view the full question and answer

Erosion at edge of driveway in Abilene TX
August 26, 2011 - My lawn suffered a great loss of grass over the winter and the soil at the edge of the driveway is washing away with watering and the occasional rains that we have. I am trying to get the grass to gr...
view the full question and answer

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