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 - July 02, 2013

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for a slope in San Antonio TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Slope growing, no or little irrigation ground cover. The slope is probably greater than 30%. The area is currently a construction road at the base, cut into the hill. To re-establish with a ground cover that would be short enough not to need mowing. Pedestrians walk through the area so a short growth plant for safety. Prefer a bedding plant vs. grass.

ANSWER:

It would be helpful to know whether the area is in sun (more than 6 hours of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun per day).  Since I don't know the sun situation on the slope, please be sure to read the information on GROWING CONDITIONS on each of the species pages that I recommend.

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) grows only 6-12 inches tall and has blooms from March through December.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) is semi-evergreen and is usually a sprawling plant.

Wedelia texana (Zexmenia) should be evergreen in San Antonio.   It blooms from June through November.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is semi-evergreen and usually grows to less than 1 foot.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen and blooms May to October.

You might consider using one of the sedges.  There are species that grow to less than 1 foot high and do well without irrigation after they are established.   Here is more information about sedges from McNeal Growers in Austin.  Here are two that are native to Bexar County:

Carex perdentata (Meadow sedge) grows in sun to about 8 inches high.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) grows best in part shade to 6 inches high.

Using a combination of plants is your best bet.  That way you will learn what will grow best on your slope and a mix of heights and colors will make the area more interesting.   Any of the plants above will require irrigation to become established. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Zexmenia
Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora



Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

More Erosion Control Questions

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
July 15, 2014 - Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on thi...
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

Erosion control after loss of large trees
July 19, 2007 - Our steep 40' river bank (NY near eastern shore of Lake Ontario - zone 4) has recently lost two 50' oaks, leaving enormous holes in the bank itself where they tore out. What should we do immediately...
view the full question and answer

Native grass for erosion control on Shoal Creek in Austin, TX
June 22, 2011 - What is the best grass seed for erosion control in Austin, TX - Shoal Creek goes through my back yard and I need to seed some areas and it gets lots of sun.
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