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

Replacing non-native iceplant in El Cajon CA
June 11, 2010 - Help! We are clearing fungus dead iceplant on a massive steep bank. Should I avoid replacing it with more iceplant? Would myaporum prostrate be a better option? Fast growing, erosion resistant, zero m...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control from Lakeland FL
November 03, 2012 - What native Ground cover is best for erosion control on slope of lake-front? Prefer not too invasive for this northern facing area behind a seawall and near large Oak tree.
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control on steep bank in Ohio
June 10, 2008 - Another erosion question: We bought a place a year and a half ago with a stream/road run off at the back of our property. The southern exposure bank is quite high, I'm guessing 12 feet and therefor...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control plants for Burleson TX
August 28, 2010 - I live just outside of Fort Worth and I have an area of my yard that is steeply sloped. I would like some type of plant or grass that can be used to control erosion and not need to be cut too often, i...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for erosion control in South Dakota
December 04, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota at about 5000 feet ASL. My house is on a steep hill. I had to clear a perimeter around my house of all the pine trees for fire supp...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center