Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Saturday - June 19, 2010

From: Groveton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty feet wide running parallel along the county road with ditches along side of the road.It is where the treeless right of way and ditches meet that we are developing gullies. The soil at the base of the hill is heavy clay while only about 350 yards away at the top of the hill there is 3 feet of sand! We are willing to plant grass, wildflowers, vines, anything that can survive on half day of sunlight and poor soil conditions. Sure we would prefer something pretty and wildlife friendly but right now we we just want something that works to prevent a minor to medium problem from developing into a major problem. Great website by the way, I am happy to be a member.

ANSWER:

Thank you for your kind words and we are very happy that you are a member!

Grasses with their extensive fibrous root systems are ideal plants to use for erosion control.  Here are several candidate grasses for Trinity County:

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

The Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas has a list of Native Plants for Erosion Control.  One suggestion from that list that might be appealing is Rubus trivialis (southern dewberry). They would do a great job of controlling erosion and could produce fruit for pies, jams and jellies, or just for eating.  Here are others from that list:

Physostegia angustifolia (narrowleaf false dragonhead) for spring blooms.

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant) is a fall bloomer.

Rivina humilis (rougeplant)

Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Kosteletzkya virginica (Virginia saltmarsh mallow)


Bouteloua curtipendula

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Rubus trivialis

Physostegia angustifolia

Physostegia virginiana

Rivina humilis

Hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus moscheutos

Kosteletzkya virginica

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grasses for sloped clay hillside in Ohio
October 16, 2008 - I have built a new home located on a hillside, our soil has a tremendous amount of clay in it. We have a sloped hillside that flows within 25 feet to the back door. The area is wooded and therefore ...
view the full question and answer

Wind and erosion tolerant plants from Austin
August 05, 2013 - I recently cleared a fire break by removing cedar from around my home in West Austin. I'd like to plant the exposed NW facing slope with native shrubs and trees. Looking for selections that can wit...
view the full question and answer

Need help fighting grass burs in La Grange, TX.
January 22, 2013 - I have 4 acres of wildflowers planted in my front yard. Unfortunately, grassburs have crept in & I need to control them with a pre-emergent. Will this keep the wildflowers from blooming? Also, would l...
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate Sawgrass from a small lake in Lindale, TX?
February 23, 2015 - We live on a small acre lake (about 65 acres) and the majority of the lake is surrounded by what the locals are calling saw grass. From the description on the website, I believe they are correct. The...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
March 15, 2013 - What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?
view the full question and answer

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