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

Wednesday - August 07, 2013

From: Gainesville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a steep bare hill and the runoff from it is heavy this year. I need help with a fast growing groundcover that will help control erosion and runoff. Planting on the hill is difficult because you can't stand up and put your foot on a shovel. It gets about 6 hours of sun a day. It has some sandy areas but mostly clay. It has a row of cedar trees at the top on the east side. But it gets sun from about 12 PM to 5-6 PM

ANSWER:

  As a general approach the best plants to stabilize a slope and prevent erosion are plants like grasses that have fibrous root systems and shrubs and perennials that spread with runners to form thickets.  Here are a set of question/answers that Mr Smarty Plants has already put out for areas near to yours with suggestions as to good approaches:

Stopping Soil Erosion on a Slope in Bonaire GA  contains a link to a University of Georgia publication on this topic, which further links to a selection of Georgia groundcovers, several of which are specifically noted as native.

Preventing erosion on a sloping lot from Buford Georgia has a good list of recommended plants

Erosion control on partially shaded slope from Atlanta GA, has a link to the Georgia Native Plant Society and a list of suggested plants

Grasses for erosion control in sand on coastal Georgia is a little farther from home but covers a different set of natives with a list of natives more suited to Nassau County.

From these recommendations, here are several plants that may prove useful:

Sedges:  Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge),  Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Grasses: Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem), Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama), Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Herbs:  Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox),  Pachysandra procumbens (Allegheny spurge)

Vine:  Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine)

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Allegheny spurge
Pachysandra procumbens

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

How do Venus flytraps really work?
May 13, 2010 - How do venus flytraps *really* work? I've read it has something to do with the hairs in their "mouth," but is there a chemical reaction going on? A physical "trigger"? Help me understand the Venu...
view the full question and answer

Suppliers for Lantana urticoides
March 23, 2007 - I would like to plant yellow Lantana in my beds because of the hot drought conditions we have in north central Texas. Where can I find this to plant now?
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

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