Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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 Shrubs Questions

Death of lantana in Bryan TX
March 28, 2013 - I would like to know what killed several new gold lantana in a single bed that died over the winter. They looked quite healthy last fall. I have several other new gold lantana that survived the wint...
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plant for grave in boggy Newfoundland
May 30, 2008 - I am looking for any suggestions on what type of plant I can plant on a grave. It is very boggy (peat)land. I want something that is hardy & not too tall. We have about 8 weeks of summer, July & Augus...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Texas Mountain Laurel
March 30, 2008 - Two questions: 1. My mountain laurel (10 yrs old) has never had blooms. Is this a gender plant issue? 2. I have been seeking a groundcover that grows in shade and will take foot (dog) traffic. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
view the full question and answer

Oakleaf hydrangea in Indiana
November 18, 2010 - I was given a start of an oak leaf hydrangea by a generous friend from her garden. I have been searching for "what to expect" about this plant. I planted it last year and it grew..this year..but d...
view the full question and answer

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