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Tuesday - June 20, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Use of native grasses as erosion control in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We're in Austin, TX and trying to keep our neighborhood lot as natural as possible; however, our lot is eroding and depositing mud and dirt onto the sidewalk whenever it rains. We're looking for an attractive, natural solution to slow or stop the erosion process. We've added some mulch to the area which seems to help and are considering a barrier of some kind. Thanks


Grasses are very effective against erosion because of their dense root systems. If your lot is sunny, you might consider putting in Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides). It requires very little water and very little mowing. It can be started by seed, by sods, or by plugs. You can find more information about planting buffalo grass in the article "Native Lawns" in our Native Plant Library.

There are several grasses that are more ornamental in appearance that would also be effective. These are:
Gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) Sun.
Lindheimer's muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri) Sun, part shade.
Inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) Part shade. This one does well in the shade.

Sedges, such as Meadow sedge (Carex perdentata) would also work in sun and part shade.

You might also consider planting one of the small perennial shrubs that are drought tolerant and would add some color, such as:
Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides) Sun.
Zexmenia (Wedelia texana) Sun, part shade.
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) Sun.

You can find nurseries that specialize in native plants in the Austin area in our National Suppliers Directory.

More Erosion Control Questions

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...
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Native plants for erosion control in South Dakota
December 04, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota at about 5000 feet ASL. My house is on a steep hill. I had to clear a perimeter around my house of all the pine trees for fire supp...
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October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
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August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
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Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
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