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
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

Groundcovers for Miami FL
March 27, 2013 - What is a ground cover that does not need mowing or a lot of water and survives in South Florida heat and is also native to the area? I would like to turn my lawn into a more natural self-sustaining a...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss for Mason County, TX
August 19, 2009 - I am interested in planting buffalo grass at a ranch home in between Mason and Fredericksburg, TX. I've read buffalograss doesn't do well in sandy soils, which this area (Hilda, TX) seems to have a ...
view the full question and answer

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