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

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

Plants for controlling erosion on a cleared slope in Ohio
April 29, 2009 - I live in Cincinnati, OH. BP owns a pipeline which runs thru part of my property. They clear out all the large trees every few years, so that it is visible from the air. Our area is surrounded by M...
view the full question and answer

Severely cutback sloping soil in Dripping Springs TX
May 09, 2010 - We have 5.5 acres off Henly Loop just north of Hwy 290 about 10 miles west of Dripping Springs, TX. The former property owners carved out soil from a sloping area to get soil for the driveway. Doing ...
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

Plants for erosion control in Georgia
May 17, 2010 - Hello, I have a question regarding water run-off coming from the neighbors yard as my yard is below their yard. What kind of ground cover would grow very quickly (low to ground) to help with the r...
view the full question and answer

Plants for ditch bank to stop erosion
June 13, 2008 - I have a huge ditch on my property. The ditch bank is about 5,000 sq ft. There is a lot of erosion and I am looking to correct the problem. Is there any type of SEED, I am not looking to plant mature ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center