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

Sunday - May 28, 2006

From: Andover, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native plants to preserve soil on river bank
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in eastern Massachusetts. We have a small stream in our backyard and a woodland area on the other side. Japanese Knotweed is pretty well established on the opposite bank of the stream from our yard and has a few clumps on the near bank as well. Garlic mustard is also growing like crazy too. I'm determined to remove the knotweed and garlic mustard on this side of the bank, even if it takes several years. My question is what to do about the bare soil. Because its a riverbank I don't want to leave it barren for fear of erosion. Can you suggest any native plants that would do well to help restore the bank? It is mostly shady with rich soil from the leaf litter. Thanks

ANSWER:

American Globeflower (Trollius laxus) would be a good plant for this purpose. Moreover, it is a rare species (threatened in Connecticut) and you would be helping to conserve it by planting it by your stream. You may have a difficult time finding a supply, however. You might contact the Center for Plant Conservation for information about propagating the species on your property.

Other suggestions for plants that would do well by your stream include:
1. Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
2. Beetleweed (Galax urceolata)
3. Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
4. Canada Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
5. Any of the violets (Viola spp.) native to the northeast would also be a good addition to the area.

To find nurseries that special in native plants in your area you can search our National Suppliers Directory. Also, you might like to check the New England Wild Flower Society web page. They periodically have native plant sales.

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plant for Erosion Control on Wooded Slope in MD
May 19, 2015 - We are looking for a plant to help with erosion control on a wooded slope next to our drive. The roots of several of the trees are exposed like a shelf, so I think it's a fairly severe problem. We ar...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
September 23, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
view the full question and answer

Need to stabilize a south facing slope in Henderson, NC
April 30, 2010 - Hi, I have a south facing slope that is heavy clay with rock under it. It gets a lot of sun. I have planted a few bushes and some ground cover, but with all the snow and rain we had this past winter, ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control in a Mid-Atlantic Shoreline
April 09, 2012 - My family owns a riverfront property off of Machodoc Creek which runs into the Potomac on the Virginia side. The water is roughly 3 feet deep at the shoreline and concrete cylinders are used to contro...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

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