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

Wednesday - May 27, 2009

From: Suffolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots get stronger to stop erosion or is this a farce?

ANSWER:

According to Plant-Care.com your homeowner's association is right.   Quoting them: 

"The quantity of leaf surface combined with the sugar making process called photosynthesis helps determine how much food the root system will receive.  More leaf surface help produce a root system that is healthier. ...When grass is cut root growth ceases temporarily."

This advice is echoed by many other lawn care experts (e.g., BetterLiving and Back to Nature Lawn Service).

The stronger and more extensive the root system, the better it can hold the soil in place.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Wildlife and bird friendly hedgerow for Chicago suburb
November 30, 2013 - Want to plant a wildlife/bird friendly hedgerow in suburban Chicago. Looking for a recommended mix of understory trees as well a shrubs and grasses. Site is part shade with average to wet soil and tr...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican feathergrass in Austin
September 21, 2010 - All of my mexican feathergrass plants have died or gone dormant, laying down flat for the most part. Any idea what's going on with them?
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance grass for retention pond
December 21, 2012 - I would like to know what would be a low-growing grass to put down for a water retention pond. We have clay and rocky soil. The incline of the sides of the retention pond are about 20 feet with gra...
view the full question and answer

Planting Habiturf in Houston, TX>
March 08, 2012 - First, I want to say thank you for such an informative site. You say that the Buffalograsses tend to do well in drier and well drained soil. My house has a lawn that drops about 10 inches in about...
view the full question and answer

Establishing native pasture in East Texas
October 29, 2011 - We are the owners of a 20 acre parcel in Harrison County, Texas. It is currently planted in pine trees. Our intentions are to thin and harvest the pine trees over the next 10 years. We would like t...
view the full question and answer

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