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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - November 21, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft deep. That's why they can survive our dry summers and provide superb erosion control value.

ANSWER:

You are absolutely right that bunch grasses with their extensive fibrous root systems are excellent plants for erosion control.  Grasses are usually the first plants I recommend for steep slopes that are eroding.  Thank you for pointing out my omission of them—I should be ashamed (and I truly am!) that I failed to mention them in the answer you are referring to.   Here are a few suggested ones that occur in the area of Studio City, California (the location of the question mentioned above):

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Elymus glaucus (Blue wild rye) occurs over most of California.  Here are photos and more information.

Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hairgrass)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie junegrass)

Muhlenbergia rigens (Deergrass)

Nassela pulchra (Purple needlegrass), the state grass of California, is an important grass for erosion control.  You can read about it and see photos of it and other native California grasses in Landowner's Guide to Native Grass Enhancement and Restoration from the Hastings Natural History Reservation of the California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

You can also find more California native bunch grasses listed on the Larner Seeds web page.  Larner Seeds is one of the seed companies listed in our National Suppliers Directory specializing in native plants in California and is based in Bolinas, CA.

Here are photos of some of the grasses listed above from our Image Gallery:


Achnatherum hymenoides


Deschampsia cespitosa


Koeleria macrantha


Muhlenbergia rigens

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion control in West Union IA
June 22, 2010 - Erosion control and native grasses/plants for steep, shady slope in northeast Iowa. We are building a house in northeast Iowa (near West Union in Fayette County). The road that was graded to the ho...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for slope in central Alabama
July 26, 2011 - Our home is atop a 20-25' eastern facing sandy loam slope in central Alabama. It was previously covered w/ kudzu. After 3 yrs. of eradication of the kudzu we are ready to plant with native grasses/pl...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA
April 25, 2013 - I have a similar question to one from SC. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We have a steep slope behind a newly built in pool. What type of plants can I put on the hillside to hold the soil. It gets a ...
view the full question and answer

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