En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 15, 2014

From: Loudon, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on this bank to keep it from eroding. It would be wonderful to have nice grass in our backyard. I'm not sure it is even possible, but would take any advice you could give me on any native plants, shrubs or trees that could help.

ANSWER:

There's hope for you to have a great lawn in your backyard and a slope full of native wildlfowers too. The first place to go to find a list of potential slope plants for your backyard is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have put together an extensive database of plants and their characteristics for you to review.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: TN, Habit – Herb (for herbaceous), Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – Dry (because of the steep slope), and Size – 0-6 feet. This search criteria will give you many native plants to consider, but not all of them are appropriate for a slope.

Some potential herbaceous slope plants include:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Some potential shrubs for the slope are:

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Erosion Control Questions

Erosion control for steep slope in West Virginia
October 05, 2008 - I live in Zone 6 (Eastern Panhandle of WV). I have a rocky, claylike steep slope (30-40% grade, about 50 feet wide and 20 feet long, it sits in the afternoon sun). So I need to plant erosion-control p...
view the full question and answer

Need a ground cover to stop erosion on a slope next to a pond.
December 08, 2009 - I have a large natural pond. One side has a steep slope. I need a attractive,low/no maintenance, evergreen? plant to stop the erosion into the pond. Cornelius/charlotte nc
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent riverbank erosion in NY
October 03, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm doing research into riverbank erosion in Broome County, NY, and I was wondering if you had some sort of resource that would be able to tell me which species of grasses...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
May 30, 2008 - We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on 30-ft. berms in Manor, TX
February 06, 2009 - The Austin Rifle Club has recently re stacked its over 30ft high backstops. We know their will be erosion to these earthen berms. We need some suggestions on what to plant. Our club is a traini...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center