En Español

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?


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 - May 07, 2014

From: Aliquippa , PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
Answered by: Larry Larson


What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA


Mr Smarty Plants has found a few similar requests for help with erosion control for a steep slope in Pennsylvania.  As a general statement, we recommend clumping grasses and shrubs with extended root systems.  You will see that as a trend in the following question/answer pairs:

Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA  

Ground cover for a bank in PA 

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA 

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania 

Deer-resistant plants for a steep hillside in Allison Park PA 

Native plants for erosion control in sun in Canton PA

Reviewing the information in these, here are a few suggestions for suitable grasses and shrubs. I've also taken note of their sunlight requirements.



Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)  partial shade

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)  partial or full shade

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)  partial shade

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)  partial shade

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)  Partial shade

Seven others are mentioned in the referenced discussions.



Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)  partial shade

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox)  partial shade

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry)  sun, partial shade or shade

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)  partial shade, shade

Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)  partial shade, shade

Six more are recommended as before.  Take note of the methods and reasoning in those discussions.


From the Image Gallery

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

More Erosion Control Questions

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control along creek in South Carolina
October 26, 2010 - We have a creek that runs thru our property and it is eroding our rip rap. The creek runs head on into an embankment which is causing the worse issue. Is there anything we can plant to help stop the e...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008 - I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a pond edge in IN
June 08, 2012 - Hello, I live in Southern Indiana. I care very much about reinforcing native plants for my region & not planting anything invasive. I had a pond built last year & need some suggestions for native ...
view the full question and answer

Full Sun, Wind-Tolerant Shrubs and Vines for Steep MN Hillside
June 26, 2013 - My neighbor and I share a very steep, large (in total almost 200 ft. wide) west-facing hillside in Excelsior, MN on Lake Minnetonka. We both have a flat grass area at the bottom so the hillside does n...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center