Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 09, 2012

From: Ridgeway, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need a pretty ground cover to control erosion in Rigdeway, SC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What is a fast, pretty ground cover blanket to control erosion on steep hill. gets full sun.

ANSWER:

You didn’t mention the size of your slope, or how steep it is, but we’ll press on. The words erosion control always cause Mr. Smarty Plants to think about grasses and grass-like plants because their fibrous root systems are very good at holding soil particles.

Lets start by looking in our Native Plant Database and use the Combination Search option. Select South Carolina 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. You will get a list of 26 species that meet these criteria. Clicking on the Scientific name of each species will bring up information about its characteristics, growth requirements, and in most cases, photos. As you go through the list, select the best match between the plant and your growth conditions. Several of these are probably taller than you want.
Grasses aren’t the only kind of plant you can use, so lets do another Combination Search. Start as before, but this time, select herb under general Appearance and leave the other choices the same. Clicking on the Submit combination Search button will bring up 83 species to explore.

Your best bet may be a combination of grasses and wildflowers to have a colorful erosion control blanket.

Two other sources of information and assistance are the South Carolina Native Plant Society, and the Fairfield County Office of Clemson Cooperative Extension.



 

More Erosion Control Questions

Low maintenance, native plants for sloping drive near Philadelphia
October 20, 2004 - My cabin is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. I am looking for low maintenance plants that would look good on the sides of a driveway that slopes upward. This is a potential project fo...
view the full question and answer

Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
April 24, 2009 - What can we plant on the inner and out walls of a detention pond to stop erosion? The pond is located in a neighborhood in Mobile, AL and the walls are 9 ft high with a steep slope.
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Ohio
June 10, 2008 - Another erosion question: We bought a place a year and a half ago with a stream/road run off at the back of our property. The southern exposure bank is quite high, I'm guessing 12 feet and therefor...
view the full question and answer

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

Restoring tornado-damaged property in Alexander City AL
January 29, 2012 - Dear Mr Smartypants, We were struck by the outbreak of tornadoes last spring and our wonderful woods are now unsightly sloping pastures with erosion problems.. many stumps and coils of roots. We are...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.