En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Friday - May 30, 2008

From: New Buffalo, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The soil (which is a bit of a stretch as it's actually mostly sand) contains rocks from earlier large scale erosion control (concrete debris) has full sun and is generally hot and dry. Your help would be appreciated! With a plan in hand, we hope to engage the neighborhood in this project as well! Many thanks.

ANSWER:

First of all, grasses are excellent choices for erosion control because of their extensive fibrous root system that holds the soil in place. Here are some grasses that will do well on the dunes:

Ammophila breviligulata (American beachgrass)

Calamovilfa longifolia (prairie sandreed) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Leymus mollis (American dunegrass) synonym=Elymus mollis with photos from Washington State University Extension

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Elymus lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus (Great Lakes wheat grass)

Below are other plants that are adapted to growing on the dunes:

Lathyrus japonicus (beach pea with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Salix cordata (heartleaf willow) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Lithospermum caroliniense (Carolina puccoon)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Prunus pumila (sandcherry)

Cakile edentula (American searocket) with photos from Wisconsin Botanical Information System

Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense (Lake Huron tansy)

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle)

While you are working on your dunes, be on the lookout for two threatened species:

1. Cirsium pitcheri (sand dune thistle) with photos and information from Center fo Plant Conservation and information from Michigan Department of Natural Resources

2. Solidago houghtonii (Houghton's goldenrod) information from Center for Plant Conservation

If you do find them, contact the Endangered Species Coordinator in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources so that they will know their location.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Coastal Dunes page has a lot useful information and you might also like to read the article, Dune/Sand Stabilization, from Michigan Department of Environment Quality that has instructions for installing plants for dune stabilization.


Ammophila breviligulata

Elymus canadensis

Lithospermum caroliniense

Campanula rotundifolia

Asclepias syriaca

Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense

Diervilla lonicera

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Need suggestions for landscaping along a creek in Lenoir, NC
July 25, 2011 - I live in Lenoir, NC and would like to landscape my creek bank that is about 90 feet long and is 200 feet from my house. I thought about evergeen bushes maybe rhododendron; some grasses; a few trees ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent bank erosion in Georgia
January 20, 2009 - I NEED LIST OF PLANTS TO HELP PREVENT BANK EROSION. WE LIVE AT BOTTOM OF HILL THAT FURTHER SLOPES TO A POND. THE AREA IS SHADY AND WET FACING NORTHEAST. ANY RAIN CAUSES THE POND TO MUD UP. WE HAVE...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for a NC Clay Slope
June 06, 2013 - Hi, We have a large slope on the road edge of our property that has been gradually eroding with spring rains (NC red clay). We would really like to plant something for erosion control but the bank is...
view the full question and answer

Need to Stabilize River Bank in Kentucky
December 20, 2011 - My home borders the Ohio River. I have lost a great deal of soil to the river. I am looking for plants with tight root systems that are water tolerant to protect my shoreline. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Erosion blanket question from Antimony UT
August 03, 2011 - I want to use an erosion control blanket for a hill and want to know what type I should purchase that would allow planting seeds and them growing up through the blanket
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center