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 a steep bank in Virginia
June 23, 2009 - I have a small yard with a 3 foot steep bank that I want to plant on. I am looking for fast growing ground cover. There is some shade but not a lot and has a southern exposure. Ground is a bit roug...
view the full question and answer

Preventing Soil Erosion in Elgin, Texas
June 06, 2011 - I live in Elgin,TX and our property is basically a slope with dense oak and cedar trees on the back of the property. The soil is sandy loam. What type of native plants or grasses can I plant to stop...
view the full question and answer

Riverbank retention in VA
March 26, 2012 - I need some groundcover/bank retention for a Virginia riverbank in mixed sun and shade. I want to plant something native to VA. the area is out of the water but subject to occasional (4-5 times per y...
view the full question and answer

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

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

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