Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
2 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

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Drainage pond plantings from Mason MI
April 23, 2012 - We have a drainage pond in our back yard. It has a large muddy bank and some steep sides where erosion has started to take its toll. We are looking for some Michigan/Mid-Western native plants that w...
view the full question and answer

Can Habiturf be planted by hydroseeding from Austin?
February 04, 2012 - We are thinking about seeding our lawn with HABITURF. Could you provide any input on whether HABITURF can be planted by hydroseeding? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady areas
November 24, 2013 - I would like to know which grasses would grow in mostly shady part of the house.
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

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