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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.

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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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Thursday - May 24, 2012

From: Bracey, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this into an attractive and low maintenance area that also serves to reduce erosion? Thank you in advance for your input!

ANSWER:

Not being anxious to overstrain ourselves, we found a Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer which addresses a very similar situation in Virginia. The previous answer is from Henrico County, north of Richmond, and not far from Mecklenburg Co., where you are located, on the southern border of Virginia with North Carolina.

We believe the advice about using grasses for erosion control in the previous answer also applies here. We are going to check each one we recommend to make sure it grows natively in the Mecklenberg County area, before we list it. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to get more information on what kind of sun exposure it requires, projected height, etc. Or, you can go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, search on Habit (grass or grasslike plants), stipulating the amount of sunlight, the moisture of the soil, even the height you would like.

Plants for Soil Stabilization in Bracey VA:

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Carex stipata (Owlfruit sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Peltandra virginica (Green arrow arum)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Awlfruit sedge
Carex stipata

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Tuckahoe
Peltandra virginica

Pickerelweed
Pontederia cordata

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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...
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May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
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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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Plants for steep clay bank in Summerfield OH
April 07, 2012 - Hello, We have a steep 15-20 foot high bank behind our house here in southern Ohio. Probably 50 ft.long. What could we plant for beauty and erosion control. It is nasty clay soil with lots of shale an...
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