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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 - August 18, 2012

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Kerrville, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a steep slope at the back of our property in "caleche" territory in Kerrville. It is about 80 feet wide by 40 feet and ends at a wash. It is outside of our fenced yard and we are in city limits and have a nosey neighbor who reported us when our grass was too high. The city told me that if we sow Texas wildflowers and call it a wildflower habitat, they will ignore his protests. I've obtained wildflower seed and sowed it there and it doesn't look too bad but we are still experiencing erosion when it rains. Are their Texas native grasses, that don't get too high, that we could loosely sow there that would assist with stopping the erosion?

ANSWER:


Mr. Smarty Plants would like to know how high is too high?
We’ll go to our Native Plant Database to see if we can find some grasses to fit the bill. Using the Combination Search box, select Texas under State, grass/grass-like under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement and dry under Soil moisture. Click on the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a  list of 57 native grasses for Texas landscapes. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size and  and other features.
Below is a short list of some of the shorter native grasses that might work for your situation.

You could also contact the folks at the Kerr County office of Texas Agrilife Extension  for additional help.

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama)

Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama)

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)

Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Seep muhly)   may be too tall

Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass)

 

From the Image Gallery


Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Seep muhly
Muhlenbergia reverchonii

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for a sandy Maryland yard
June 10, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Severn (AA County) where we have sandy soil and on a well/septic system. Can you tell me a native grass I can seed in my yard? Something hardy and does not require a ...
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Slope eroding in Martinsburg WV
May 05, 2010 - I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. My soil is shale/clay I am unable to grow grass it seems to burn up every year. It gets full sun and is on a hill. I have used topsoil and reseeded it...
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Grass for miniature horses
October 31, 2008 - We are looking for buffalo grass or a grass that can be eaten by miniature horses. We have a small non-profit in south Austin and bring the minis home on weekends x2 a month. Our yard has been dirt w...
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Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
April 24, 2009 - What can we plant on the inner and out walls of a detention pond to stop erosion? The pond is located in a neighborhood in Mobile, AL and the walls are 9 ft high with a steep slope.
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Resources for a green roof project from Wayne PA
April 14, 2013 - Hello! I am researching a project to create a native wildflower/ turf mix for a green roof. I would ideally like to grow it as a sod mat, and then install it in rolls. I am currently working as an i...
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