Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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 - November 13, 2010

From: Studio City,, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control, Shrubs
Title: Plants for steep slope in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that you know of would be great. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Well, I'm not going to be able to give you a list of plants with descriptions of their root systems, but I am going to recommend that you read an article, Simple Erosion Control for a Hillside or Garden Slope, from Las Pilitas Nursery that specializes in California native plants with locations in Santa Margarita and Escondido.  They have a lot of useful information about controlling erosion and they offer lists of plants for slopes or you can use their search engine, MyNativePlants.com, to find plants that match your slope's characteristics.  They do recommend that you mix a variety of different plants on your slopes.  Here are some possibilities:

Most Arctostphylos species, for example:

Arctostaphylos pungens (Pointleaf manzanita)

Arctostaphylos patula (Greenleaf manzanita)

Many of the Ceanothus species, for example:

Ceanothus greggii (Desert ceanothus)

Ceanothus griseus (Carmel ceanothus)

And, a variety of other species:

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat)

 Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus (Orange bush monkeyflower)

Salvia columbariae (California sage)

Salvia sonomensis (Creeping sage)

Cleome isomeris (Bladderpod spiderflower)

Dendromecon rigida (Tree poppy)

Purshia tridentata (Antelope bitterbrush)

You can find other suitable plants on our California-Southern Recommended list.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos pungens


Arctostaphylos patula


Ceanothus greggii


Ceanothus griseus


Eriogonum fasciculatum


Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus


Salvia columbariae


Salvia sonomensis


Cleome isomeris


Dendromecon rigida


Purshia tridentata

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Native plants for creekside erosion control
December 16, 2006 - I need advice on what native plants I can use to slow erosion by my creek. The watershed for a large area ends up at my place, and nothing is growing where most of the runoff flows. I've got braken...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in NY
October 03, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm doing research into riverbank erosion in Broome County, NY, and I was wondering if you had some sort of resource that would be able to tell me which species of grasses...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for erosion control in the state of Washington
December 16, 2010 - Which native grasses do you suggest for maximum erosion control in my area?
view the full question and answer

Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
view the full question and answer

Long Island Barrier Beach Plants
April 22, 2013 - I live on the south shore of Long Island on a barrier beach and am landscaping my property as a result of Sandy damage. I am going with a sand base, and I am looking for suitable trees and shrubs for...
view the full question and answer

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