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 - March 20, 2013

From: Spicewood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Erosion control in Spicewood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am from a small community along the Colorado River a few miles East of Marble Falls. We are looking for a ground cover/grass to prevent erosion on on our beach front. We had planned to use Bermuda Grass. We have heard about Depoll Grass(sp?). This grass is supposed to spread easily, be very drought tolerant, and work well to prevent erosion. Is this grass to-good-to-be-true or the answer-to-our prayers?

ANSWER:

Sorry, we have never heard of a grass by that name, and the closest we could find on the Internet was a van DePoll Gardens company, in British Columbia. We don't think that's what you are thinking about. And, if we could find out about it, we would be interested. A grass of any sort that had those specifications would be worth knowing about, and very likely too good to be true.

We are pretty sure, though, that it is not a native grass, which would be all we recommend. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area where they will be growing; in your case, Burnet County. Bermudagrass is not only non-native, but so invasive it is considered one of the worst weeds in the South.

All that having been said, grasses generally are the best erosion control you can have. They have long fibrous roots and take hold of the dirt and keep it in place. One controlling factor is whether or not you have sun (6 hours or more of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun a day). You should put off selecting a grass until you have observed your property and determine the amount of sunlight in various areas. The shadier it is, the harder to get grasses, especially lawn grasses, to flourish. Because we answer a lot of questions about erosion and ways to deal with it, here are links to some previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions, both in your general area:

Erosion control in Austin

Streambank in Austin

Then, we would like for you to consider the turf grass developed by the Wildflower Center specifically for our area; note that you need about 5 hours of sun a day for this grass to flourish. Go to our site on Habiturf, and be sure and watch the video on installation, as well as follow the links to more information.

Since we don't know if you are looking for grasses for sun or shade, we are going to go to a list of recommended species for the Edwards Plateau.  Please read the paragraph describing this ecosystem, we think you will agree that you are gardening in that ecosystem. Using the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page we will select "grass or grass-like" under Habit, and nothing else. You don't need to select a state, as the Edwards Plateau is only in Texas, and we don't know what height you want or how much sunlight you have. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant (the webpage comes directly from our Native Plant Database) and determine if its characteristics fit your requirements. You can do the same search yourself, this time selecting sun exposure and desired height, or whatever other requirements you have.

Erosion-preventing grasses for Burnet County, TX:

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama)

Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama)

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Melica nitens (Three-flower melic)

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly)

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens)

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Three-flower melic
Melica nitens

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Texas bluegrass
Poa arachnifera

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Purpletop tridens
Tridens flavus

More Invasive Plants Questions

Walnut tree root coming through basement floor in Portland, OR
February 10, 2009 - I have a walnut tree root coming through my basement floor. I need advice as to what will it do to tree when I remove the root, like another root though a different part of my home. It is a large tree...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Non-branching mimosa tree
June 26, 2008 - I have a Mimosa Tree, just about 2 years old, grown from seed. The problem with it is that it has not branched out, it looks like one long branch growing out of the ground, about 5 feet if stood strai...
view the full question and answer

Creeping buttercups in juniper in McKeesport PA
May 22, 2010 - I have creeping buttercups in my juniper ground cover. How do I get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Care for iceplant in Hawaii
October 25, 2008 - Good morning Mr. Smarty Plants( I love the name) I live in Hawaii and have iceplant on the hill behind my house. Its established pretty well.I weed it often. How much water do I need and how can I get...
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