Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Wednesday - June 22, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

You have lots of choices for grasses that grow in the sun.  Here are some that are readily available to order from one of our associates, Native American Seed in Junction.

Tall grasses (more than 3 feet):

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Medium grasses (1 to 3 feet):

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Aristida purpurea (Purple threeawn)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem) likes growing in damp soil in full sun.  It should do especialy well on the margins of the creek.

Short grasses (less than 12 inches):

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama)

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)

Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass)

All of the above will grow from seeds and, although earlier in the year would have been a better time to plant, you should be able to get them to sprout and grow now—providing, of course, that you give them plenty of water.  Native American Seeds has an article, Planting Tips for Native Grasses, that has useful information for getting your grasses established.   And although you aren't trying to establish a lawn, our articles, Native Lawns: Buffalograss and Native Lawns: Multi-species should be helpful, also.  You don't say how steep the slope is that you are trying to stabilize, but if it is very steep you might want to consider using some sort of erosion control mat or blanket called rolled erosion control products (RECPs).  They help stabilize the area until the grass can take over that function.   You sow the seeds under the blanket and they grow up through it.   Sowing the seeds under the blanket also keeps them from washing away in the rain or during the irrigation of the area.  Many of them are made of biodegradable material that eventually decomposes.  Many nurseries carry some form of these.

Here are photographs of the above grasses:

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Stopping Soil Erosion on a Slope
May 13, 2013 - I live in Bonaire, GA and have a slope in my back yard. The soil is red clay and it gets sun most of the day. A small section of this slope tends to have a mudslide to the bottom of the slope. How ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a lakeside bank in NC
November 07, 2011 - Our association is looking to plant a huge sloped area that runs down to Lake Wylie. We want to plant something that is good for erosion and that does not grow too tall so that we keep our view of th...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to prevent erosion in Maryland
February 03, 2009 - Please can you recommend native plants for a north-facing slope, under pine trees? I live in Maryland near the border between the Coastal Plain and Piedmont Plateau, where we have cold to mild Winter...
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

Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
March 26, 2009 - Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy t...
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.