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

Sunday - August 19, 2012

From: Fairview, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Slope Erosion control for Fairview NC
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Please recommend plants to help with soil erosion on a slope. The soil is red clay and area gets full sun. The slope is approximately 12' x 12'. I live in Fairview, NC

ANSWER:

That’s a small area!   As a general approach, the best plants to stabilize a slope and prevent erosion are plants like grasses that have fibrous root systems and shrubs and perennials that spread with runners to form thickets.  For that area, one or two shrubs at most would fit. 

Here are two previous answers that will give you an idea of some choices.  This one is a very similar earlier question about a NC creek bank.  This one concerns erosion control near Charlotte.

From those two messages we can recommend these grasses for full sun and clay soil:   Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem),  Carex texensis (Texas sedge),  Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem),  Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

I also like to scan native plants that might add for this specific situation in addition to those suggested previously.  Here is a link to the North Carolina Collection, these collections are lists of natives to your aea that can be sorted for certain characteristics. Here is a selection of wildflowers; these should help anchor the slope while also adding some seasonal color:
Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)
Baptisia australis (Blue wild indigo)
Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)
Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

 

From the Image Gallery


Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Blue wild indigo
Baptisia australis

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Identification of pale blue flower near Big Bend, TX
March 14, 2013 - I have looked almost everywhere in order to ID this bloom with no luck. Some blooms do arrive close but not quite. I live just outside of Big Bend National Park in Terlingua, TX. On a hike into Dog Ca...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Flowers or plants for no-sun area in Nova Scotia
March 14, 2009 - What kind of flowers or plants can I plant in my rock garden that gets virtually no sun? I have wasted so much money on plants that were guaranteed to grow.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Decatur GA
June 14, 2012 - Hi: In early May 2012 we visited the Center--fantastic. There was a large shrub/tree with yellow blooms near a silo. Is it Retama? Also there was a lot of a purple blooming plant in with the conef...
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

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