Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 16, 2011

From: Buford, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Preventing erosion on a sloping lot
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I am trying to find a native plant to use on a sloped area in my back yard to help prevent the slope from eroding away (zone 7- N. Atlanta, GA). I want something evergreen, between 6 to 30 inches tall, and somewhat fast growing. The slope gets about a half day's sun and ends in a natural wooded/stream area. Thank you!

ANSWER:

My goodness! Georgia must be a hilly place as we get many requests for slope plantings there. I am going to consider your request specifically but you may want to check other responses to this problem. To do so, click on Mr. Smarty Plants on our web site, in the upper right corner under Search put "plants for a slope in Georgia", and be amazed at the response.

To prevent erosion on a slope, you want a plant that forms a dense, fibrous root system. That usually means grasses, sedges or ferns. Grass tends to grow tall; ferns and sedges are evergreen and closer to your height preference. I've selected some plants close to matching your height requirements. Light requirement for a sun-loving plant is 6 or more hours daily, for part shade 2-6 hours, and less than 2 hours for shade. Many plants are quite tolerant of any amount of light and/or moisture. Here are a few for you to consider.

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) 2-3 feet; sun, part shade.

Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama) 10-18 inches; part shade.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) 1-2.5 feet; part shade, shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) 18-24 inches dense mound, will shoot stems to 3 feet in fall; sun, part shade.

Sedges

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) 12-18 inches; part shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) 10-12 inches; sun, part shade.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) 1-3 feet; sun, part shade, shade.

Ferns

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; easily established.

Asplenium platyneuron (Ebony spleenwort) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade.

Thelypteris noveboracensis (New york fern) 12-18 inches; part shade, shade; spreads rapidly into dense colonies.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern) 1-2 feet; part shade, shade; appropriate near the pond.

Shrub

Gaylussacia dumosa (Dwarf huckleberry) 3-15 inches; part shade; slower growing ground cover that thrives at margins of ponds.


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bouteloua hirsuta


Muhlenbergia schreberi


Schizachyrium scoparium


Carex cherokeensis


Carex texensis


Carex blanda


Polystichum acrostichoides


Asplenium platyneuron


Thelypteris noveboracensis


Woodwardia areolata


Gaylussacia dumosa

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a steep bank in South Carolina
January 09, 2010 - I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank. The bank is on the side of the gravel road I cut back into the woods and around a 36" pipe going under the road to allow the free flow ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Lago Vista, TX.
May 20, 2012 - I was hoping for some advice. We live on a hillside near Lake Travis. 10-12 years ago I removed all cedar trees. There is approximately 1-2 acrees of steep land between our residence and the lake. ...
view the full question and answer

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
March 26, 2009 - Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy t...
view the full question and answer

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