Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
3 ratings

Saturday - December 15, 2007

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses for dry bottom detention ponds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am working on a project for my HOA in order to reduce mowing costs and to beautify our neighborhood. We were wondering if you could help us find people knowledgeable about dry bottom detention ponds and grasses that could be used that were slow growing, required little fertilizer but could have a strong enough root structure to maintain the slopes of a detention pond(s). We are located in Pearland, TX

ANSWER:

Please see our National Suppliers Directory for information about Landscape Professionals and Environmental Consultants in your area who might be knowledgeable about dry bottom detention ponds.

Grasses are excellent plants for stabilizing slopes because of their extensive fibrous root systems and native grasses require no, or very little, fertilizer. If the detention pond is in a primarily sunny area, then an excellent choice for a grass is Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) since it grows slowly and doesn't require frequent mowing. However, it will not deal well with standing water which may happen with your detention pond. You would probably be better off with plants that are appropriate to a raingarden situation—plants that tolerate standing in water but can also thrive when the water dries up completely. Sedges (such as Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge), Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) or Carex texensis (Texas sedge)) are grasslike, don't grow too tall, and can withstand both wet and dry situations.

You might also consider ornamental grasses that are pleasing to look at without needing to be mowed, for instance:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem), Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), and Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly).

You can see other suggestions for raingarden plants in the answer to a previous question


Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Andropogon glomeratus

Chasmanthium latifolium

Muhlenbergia capillaris

 


 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Special requirements for Density buffalograss in Austin
April 23, 2009 - Are there any special requirements for Density Buffalo beyond the requirements of other, more common, types of buffalo grass? Background: We live in NW Austin, and we recently installed density bu...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and turf grass for VA
February 08, 2012 - I recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia. I am becoming involved with a church here that recently started a grounds committee. There is some discussion within the group of which varieties of native ...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Arizona
July 16, 2015 - Slowly turning south-facing lawn to drought-tolerant plantings with gravel paths. Mature Ponderosa and several blue spruce and junipers surround area. Grass area I'm converting with a few larger tr...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen from Temecula CA
May 04, 2013 - I live in Temecula and need a fast growing tree by our pool that is good to block neighbors house.
view the full question and answer

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