Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - February 28, 2012

From: Nashville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Need plants to control erosion on a hillside in Nashville, TN.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Recently, a rogue contractor scraped all the sod off of my Tennessee hillside. Now the clay soil is exposed and washing away quickly. The hill slope is approximately 30 degrees. In the spring I'd like to cover the hillside with a really fast growing grass, to help slow down erosion. The hillside faces south and gets plenty of sun. What's the best grass to plant? And what's the best method for planting it? Thank you for your assistance.

ANSWER:


You are correct in selecting grasses for controlling erosion. Their fibrous root systems are great at holding on to soil particles.

To look at some possibilities for planting, go to our Native Plant Database and scroll down to the Combination Search box. Make the following selections: select TN under State, grass/grass-like under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check Sun under light requirements, and Dry under Soil moisture. Click on the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 20 grasses and sedges that you can choose from. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has plant characteristics, growth requirements, and in most cases, images. As you go through the list, look for plants that match your growing conditions.

Take a look at our "How To" page and check out the articles under the title "Large Scale Wildflower Plantings" for some more tips.

Since you are planting on a 30 degree slope, you might consider using an erosion control blanket to prevent your seeds from washing away.

You may also want to contact the folks at the Davidson County office of University of Tennessee Extension for some help closer to home.

 

More Planting Questions

Plantings for beneath a red oak in Lubbock TX
February 23, 2012 - What would you recommend to plant in a two tiered raised bed facing west, totally blocked from the east, thus receiving only the afternoon sun? A 21 year old red oak sits in the middle of the upper ra...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting crabapples in NJ
October 25, 2010 - I purchased a mature Red Baron crabapple in march of this year from a reputable nursery here in southern NJ. The tree was in the ground when I first viewed it, and since it was march and hadn't bloom...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

Drought resistant small tree for Ft. Worth TX
May 22, 2013 - I am looking for suggestions for a small tree (no more than 25 feet max)that is drought resistant but can handle a little irrigation and a lot of wind. Something showy is a plus. Grouped with salvias ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Plum Grove, TX
October 05, 2013 - Sorry Mr. Smarty pants, my question is I live in Plum Grove Texas, I have 5 acres and NO TREES. What trees were on the property were either taken out by Ike, or the twisters that followed. I have boug...
view the full question and answer

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