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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - October 18, 2011

From: Hempstead, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Seeds and Seeding, Soils
Title: Seeding the banks of a large pond
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a 2 acre surface pond that is mostly a hard clay bank all around. The water level is way down and I will begin filling it very soon. I need to somehow being affordable, plant something or things that are native plants that wildlife would enjoy around the pond to help slow down the errosion from happening. Should I use a netting or not with what plants. From Hempstead Texas, please help!!!! Brian

ANSWER:

A very good source of information on planting around the edges of ponds has been published by the Native American Seed Company (info@seedsource.com).  These suggestions include soil preparation as well a suitable plant species.  It will be important to loosen up your clay and mix in some compost to hold water and assure that oxygen is permeable into the root zone.  Native grasses are best for erosion control.  Several useful grasses for preventing erosion were listed in a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

Grasses and grass-like native plants for Central Texas suitable for erosion control:

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) - full sun

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) - full sun

Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) - full sun

Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri (curly-mesquite) - full sun

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) - full sun

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) - part shade

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - sun or part shade

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) - sun, part shade or shade

If your pond slope is steep enough to need an erosion-preventing blanket, Native American Seed also offers that.

Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center how-to article on water gardening for tips on planting aquatic plants in your pond.  The following excerpt from another previous Mr. Smarty Plants  answer can help with aquatic plant selection: If you need a list of plants to use, go to the Native Plants page of our website. Scroll down to Combination Search and select Texas for the state, and "wet" for  soil moisture, you will get a list of 237 native species. Another souce of names is the Aquaplants site of the Texas Agrilife Extension Service at the Texas A&M System that has a list with photos that identifies wetland plants.

For help in locating suppliers, go to our Suppliers Directory and enter your city and state in the appropriate space. You will get a list of nurseries that sell native plants in your area. 

The Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) has a directory of nurseries in the Houston area that sell native plants. Of particular interest is Nelson Water Gardens and Nursery that provides plans for ponds and water gardens as well as plants to go in them. Another source for this kind of information is the North Texas Water Garden Society.

Grasses suggested above (from our Image Gallery):

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Curly-mesquite
Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

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