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

Tuesday - March 19, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Shade Tolerant
Title: How to stabilize a slope under Red Oaks?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A portion our front "yard" (20x40 feet) is a limestone hillside shaded by 3 large spanish oaks. The small amount of grass holding onto the hillside is now gone from the drought, and the hill has eroded down to rock and roots. My questions are: 1. How to stabilize the slope without damaging the tree roots; eg, if terrace, how deep can topsoil be added; use of rock versus soil/mulch; mesh or other means to keep the soil in place. 2. Once the hillside is stablilized, what drought resistant grass or plants can tolerate full shade and require little maintenance. Thank you for any help!

ANSWER:

With more than 8000 questions and answers (as of March 20, 2013) published in Ask Mr. Smarty Plants, many questions have been answered already.  A particularly good answer to a recent question covers most of your issues regarding shade-tolerant ground-covers.

Terracing is an effective way to reintroduce soil to an eroded slope.  The amount of soil you can add will depend on what you wish to keep growing there.  In general, you should add no more than one inch of soil around the trunk of trees or shrubs.  However away from the trunk and especially down hill from a tree, the soil can be deeper.  Terraces on steep slopes usually require construction of retaining walls using rocks, masonry or timbers.

For complex projects, we recommend hiring a licensed landscape architect or a certified landscape professional.

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
May 24, 2012 - 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...
view the full question and answer

Need to stabilize a south facing slope in Henderson, NC
April 30, 2010 - Hi, I have a south facing slope that is heavy clay with rock under it. It gets a lot of sun. I have planted a few bushes and some ground cover, but with all the snow and rain we had this past winter, ...
view the full question and answer

Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
June 26, 2008 - I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a p...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in East Texas
January 03, 2009 - We have recently moved to Conroe and are having a problem with erosion behind a retaining wall (installed by previous owner. The retaining wall is made of concrete and is about 8 foot tall by 110 foo...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep embankment on the Missouri River in Nebraska
July 01, 2009 - Hi, My embankment along the Northeast Nebraska shoreline of the Missouri River is eroding the land away. Do you have any suggestions for seed I could throw over the side of the bank that would grow...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center