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

Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for slope in Kansas City
October 08, 2008 - We have a down sloping back yard and patio on the lower area. We need some water absorbing plants near the foundation and some in the front of the house, where water isn't a problem. We are allergic ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
October 17, 2012 - I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to stabilize a steep bank in Pennsylvania
April 23, 2008 - I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank of a septic leach field in eastern Pennsylvania. My purpose is to control erosion and to eliminate the need for mowing. What would you r...
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