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

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:


Andropogon gerardii


Sorghastrum nutans


Panicum virgatum


Schizachyrium scoparium


Bouteloua curtipendula


Aristida purpurea


Andropogon glomeratus


Bouteloua gracilis


Bouteloua dactyloides


Hilaria belangeri

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008 - I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer

Plants for curb appeal from Birmingham AL
June 16, 2011 - My front yard is on a down hill slope. Can you recommend some plants that would be good for creating curb appeal that will be planted up against the house? We need some that are short around 2 feet ...
view the full question and answer

Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
view the full question and answer

Steep slope from Charlotte NC
May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
view the full question and answer

Full Sun, Wind-Tolerant Shrubs and Vines for Steep MN Hillside
June 26, 2013 - My neighbor and I share a very steep, large (in total almost 200 ft. wide) west-facing hillside in Excelsior, MN on Lake Minnetonka. We both have a flat grass area at the bottom so the hillside does n...
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