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

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 Erosion Control Questions

Flowering plant for hillside in Brookings OR
April 16, 2009 - We live on the Chetco river and the bank in front of the house is on a hill. What would be a flowering plant that would maintain the integrity of the hill?
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Low growing annuals for OK shaded slope.
January 26, 2016 - I have a heavily shaded slope on the north, west, and south side of my home. Can you suggest some low growing annuals (flowering, or not) that would allow me to beautify my property.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a hillside in WI
February 18, 2012 - I live in Wisconsin and am currently doing a research project on plant variation on the north and south sides of a hill. I was wondering you could suggest any books to me that would address this issue...
view the full question and answer

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