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

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 Wildflowers Questions

Can bluebonnets grow in a field of Bahia grass in Silsbee, TX?
September 14, 2010 - My question is if you have a field of Bahia grass, can bluebonnets grow there or will the grass choke them out?
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 14, 2003 - How did the bluebonnet get its name?
view the full question and answer

Will Bermuda grass crowd out natives
September 12, 2008 - i have a new office bldg on an acre lot in cedar park. the city requires complete ground cover within a few months so bermuda was sprayed much to my dismay..the area along the front towards the road ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Germination
July 23, 2004 - I just planted wildflowers and I was wondering how long before I know if they will grow?
view the full question and answer

Is it illegal to collect wildflower plants from county roads in TX?
February 05, 2016 - Is it illegal to collect wildflower plants like bluebonnets from county roads in Texas?
view the full question and answer

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