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

Wednesday - June 06, 2012

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Need native plant to stabilize 45 degree slope in Houston, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you recommend a native TX plant to be used to stabilize a 45 degree slope in the Houston area? Durability, maintenance and appearance should be considered. Thank You.

ANSWER:

Two questions that Mr. Smarty Plants would have are; what is growing there now? ; and what kind of soil are we talking about?
Generally, we recommend grasses and grass-like plants for slope stabilization. To look at some possibilities, lets go to the Native Plant Database  and use the  Combination Search option. Select Texas under State, grass/grass-like under General Appearance, and perennial under Lifespan. Check  sun under Light Requirement, and dry under Soil Moisture. Click the Submit Combination Search button and you get 57 species that meet these criteria. Clicking on the scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page that contains the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements and, in most cases, photos. As you go through the list, look for  plants that match your growing conditions.

Here are some possibilities
Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)  

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)   

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) 

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) 

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)   a sedge

A 45 degree slope seems pretty formidable. You might consider consulting a landscape architect to see if some sort of terracing  should be incorporated into the project.

Native American Seed Coompany in Junction has seed mixes for various apllications, and their "Dam Slope mix" might be of interest to you. They also have a lot of information about planting seeds.

Another source of help and information is the Harris County office of Texas Agrilife Extension.






 

From the Image Gallery


Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plantings for sides of retention pond in Willits CA
July 02, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for ground cover for the outside of embankments which impound wastewater. This is to improve the aesthetics and deter weeds. The slopes are 1V:2H, so if we can avoid...
view the full question and answer

Sowing native grass seeds in July in Georgetown TX
July 06, 2010 - I have a bare patch of soil behind my house. Can I sow native grass seeds now?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf in Houston
January 30, 2012 - I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
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