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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.

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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.

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Friday - May 08, 2009

From: Leavenworth, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like some flowering plants, if possible, that will aid with erosion since the rain water is washing the hillside.

ANSWER:

Your best bet for effective erosion control is definitely grasses because their fibrous roots hold soil very well.  But there's certainly no reason that should stop you from having wildflowers too.  Grasses are not to be underestimated - they provide interest when your flowers aren't blooming and many look great en masse.  You can find a wide variety of native plants that are recommended for your area on our Recommended Species page, where you can also narrow your search to certain characteristics and choose the water and light requirements specific to a spot on your hillside.  Below are some beautiful grasses and a few wildflowers that often grow among grasses.  These plants are native to Kansas and several are known to reseed freely to form colonies.    

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Echinacea angustifolia (blacksamson echinacea)

Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)


Schizachyrium scoparium

Koeleria macrantha

Bouteloua curtipendula

Sorghastrum nutans

Echinacea angustifolia

Liatris pycnostachya

Tradescantia ohiensis

Chamaecrista fasciculata

 

 

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