Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Friday - July 17, 2015

From: Pace, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Hillside Erosion in Pace FL
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a hillside that slopes down about 10 feet to a spring fed pond. The pond drains into Escambia Bay. We have 2 dams with culverts to control the flow of water. Last year during a torrential rainstorm the bank eroded and the upper dam overflowed, depositing lots of dirt into the pond. I've had the pond scooped out and the dam repaired and dirt has been deposited onto the eroded bank. What can I plant in the hillside to prevent erosion, but not obstruct the view of the bay?

ANSWER:

This Mr Smarty Plants likes to review the archives for suggestions before inventing any new ones. The following MSP question/answer pairs address similar topics and come from areas that are not too far from yours.

Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida 

Plants for 60 degree slope in Mobile, AL 

Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama 

Planting for steep slope in Alabama 

Privacy screen for Pace Florida 


  In addition to advice and discussion in all of the above, several native plants were suggested that coul dwell be useable for your situation.  Consider the following:

Grasses:   Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge bluestem)Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Groundcovers/wildflowers  Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)Packera aurea (Golden groundsel)Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)

Shrubs   Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana)Hibiscus coccineus (Scarlet rosemallow)Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)

Several taller shrubs and trees were suggested, in particular in the last discussion of a privacy screen, if you can accept ten foot plants, you may want to consider a few of those.

Our philosophy about determining plants for erosion control was well described in the first discussion.  This is: “Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket or grass plugs can be planted through the blanket. After the grasses have begun to establish themselves and stabilize the area you can add other plants. On the pond edge you could consider adding some attractive aquatic or semi-aquatic plants to help prevent the erosion.”   This is good advice for your situation also.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Broomsedge
Andropogon virginicus

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

Scarlet rosemallow
Hibiscus coccineus

Virginia sweetspire
Itea virginica

Northern spicebush
Lindera benzoin

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Questions on non-native St. Augustine from Austin
October 15, 2013 - I have St. Augustine grass in my yard. I am having work done in my yard soon, which will require new sod. I know the St. Augustine has to take root in the ground before the first freeze, to assure t...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

Central Texas native plants good for cut flowers in Austin
March 15, 2010 - What are the best native plants to Central Texas that can be used as cut flowers for indoors in the home? I have a large garden that will be partly vegetables, partly for cut flowers. Thank you for ...
view the full question and answer

Searching for nursery with yellow nutsedge in NC
January 27, 2014 - I'd like to plant yellow nut sedge as a cover to stop erosion in a lot. Where can I buy yellow nut sedge plants near Kinston, North Carolina? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Trimming of native Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass)
January 27, 2008 - Should Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass) be cut down in a similar fashion to other perennial grasses that go dormant in the winter.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.