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
3 ratings

Sunday - November 04, 2012

From: Tallahassee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a hill and put in a new side driveway and now I am seeing erosion along the driveway and can see the bottom of my concrete. Grass won't grow because its all shaded. What would be the best groundcover or grass to put down to prevent erosion and tolerate shade. I want to plant now for October and know it may go dormant. I researched and some sites mentioned Liriope muscaria?

ANSWER:

First of all, our mission here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Since Liriope muscari is a native of China and Japan, it would not be a plant that we would recommend.  We do have some native plant recommendations, however.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) makes a very good evergreen groundcover.  Like grasses, it has a fibrous root system that helps fight erosion.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) does well in sun, part shade or shade.   In Tallahassee it would probably remain evergreen.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow in part shade or shade.

Packera aurea (Golden ragwort) and Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) both make evergreen groundcovers with yellow flowers early in the spring.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is evergreen.

There are several ferns that would make good ground covers in Leon County:

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) is evergreen.

Thelypteris kunthii (Wood fern) is semi-evergreen and makes a low maintenance groundcover.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern) is a deciduous fern that makes a good groundcover.

You might consider using a combination of some of the plants above rather than making a mono-culture of a single type of plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Wood fern
Thelypteris kunthii

Netted chainfern
Woodwardia areolata

More Erosion Control Questions

Stopping Soil Erosion on a Slope
May 13, 2013 - I live in Bonaire, GA and have a slope in my back yard. The soil is red clay and it gets sun most of the day. A small section of this slope tends to have a mudslide to the bottom of the slope. How ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia
May 01, 2011 - I've been tasked with identifying native grass varieties or mixes (Coastal Georgia) that can be used for erosion control on sandy slopes created from dredged river sediment and that receive lots of s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for vertical cliff in Pismo, CA
July 11, 2011 - Need help with erosion control on an 80' steep to vertical, top-soil, south facing cliff, Pismo CA (central coast) area. Terracing not an option. Prefer native, colorful plants that will give the bes...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control after loss of large trees
July 19, 2007 - Our steep 40' river bank (NY near eastern shore of Lake Ontario - zone 4) has recently lost two 50' oaks, leaving enormous holes in the bank itself where they tore out. What should we do immediately...
view the full question and answer

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