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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 14, 2012

From: White Stone, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control
Title: Chesapeake Bay Erosion Control from White Stone VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Native Wetland Plants for Chesapeake Bay Erosion Control -- I have a wooded lot (pine and hardwoods)leading to 4-5 ft. wide flat shoreline edged with riprap. What native wetland plants survive salt water tides and slow erosion? I want to fill that 4-5 ft. wide area high with them.

ANSWER:

Lucky you, or maybe lucky us. There is already a list of 422 Plants of Chesapeake Bay on our Recommended Species page in our website.This list was provided to us by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. Begin by following the link to the list and then use the Narrow Your Search feature to select the General Appearance (tree, herbaceous blooming plant, etc.), soil moisture and amount of sunlight. Click on Narrow Your Search at the bottom and you will get of list of that type of plant that is recommended for that kind of environment. When you have selected trees, for instance, you go back and do the same search for vines, or grasses. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn about its characteristics, bloom colors and times, etc. and match that up to the features you have. Also, be sure and contact that Field Office, as they will surely have better information on salt water spray resistance. Just offhand, we are going to say we think native grasses would be your best bet for that situation, as they are outstanding with long fibrous roots for erosion control, so be sure to search on grasses. Here are some that looked good to us from the list:

Ammophila breviligulata (American beach grass)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

 

From the Image Gallery


American beach grass
Ammophila breviligulata

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

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