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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.

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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

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