En Español

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 - December 16, 2006

From: Rockwall, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native plants for creekside erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need advice on what native plants I can use to slow erosion by my creek. The watershed for a large area ends up at my place, and nothing is growing where most of the runoff flows. I've got braken fern and beauty berry around the creek, so don't want to interfere with my beloved natives. I'm in Van Zandt county and have sandy loam over red clay. Need something at the edge of the creek where runoff is making waterfalls!

ANSWER:

First of all, you might consider using erosion-control blankets and/or fiber or coir rolls to stabilize the erosion area. The fiber rolls and erosion-control fabric work by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediment to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. The roots of the plants growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem. You can read about a stream bank stabilization project implemented by Department of Environmental Services, Arlington, Viriginia.

Native grasses are a good plant choice for erosion control because the extensive fibrous root systems that they develop hold the soil in place. The following grasses tolerate wet conditions but don't need to live constantly in water. Moreover, they are attractive plants that occur naturally in Van Zandt or adjacent counties.

GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS:

Bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus
Gulf muhley, Muhlenbergia capillaris
Eastern gamagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides
Sedges, Carex sp. (e.g., Creek sedge, C. blanda) are another possibility.

Here are some other plants that should do well in your erosion area that gets very wet and then dries out. These plants also occur in, or adjacent to, Van Zandt County:

BUSHES/SMALL TREES:

Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
Roughleaf dogwood, Cornus drummondii
False indigo, Amorpha fruticosa
Scarlet rose mallow, Hibiscus laevis
Baccharis, Baccharis halimifolia


TALL HERBACEOUS:

American waterwillow, Justicia americana
Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Physostegia sp. (e.g., Obedient plant, P. intermedia)
Pluchea sp. (e.g., Saltmarsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata)
Blue water leaf, Hydrolea ovata
American germander, Teucrium canadense

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for slope on Orcas Island, WA
July 21, 2011 - Hi! What a great site! Okay, I have a home on Orcas Island, WA. We live here from about June through September, but only visit once a month or so the other times of the year. We are looking for somet...
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

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Lago Vista, TX.
May 20, 2012 - I was hoping for some advice. We live on a hillside near Lake Travis. 10-12 years ago I removed all cedar trees. There is approximately 1-2 acrees of steep land between our residence and the lake. ...
view the full question and answer

Stopping Soil Erosion on a Slope
May 13, 2013 - I live in Bonaire, GA and have a slope in my back yard. The soil is red clay and it gets sun most of the day. A small section of this slope tends to have a mudslide to the bottom of the slope. How ...
view the full question and answer

Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
May 11, 2013 - I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center