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?

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

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

Getting rid of non-native, invasive English Ivy from Davidsonville MD
March 19, 2014 - Just moved and need to rid the well established Ivy planted on the steep slope area around the back and side of the house as it is taking over the bushes on the top and trees in forested area at botto...
view the full question and answer

Reconsideration of previous question from Hays County TX
February 21, 2014 - QUESTION: Please reconsider this question that I sent to you last week. Our home address is in Bastrop County, but the Blanco River property that we own is in Hays County near Wimberley. Our proper...
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plants for steep bank to prevent erosion
March 24, 2010 - We recently bought a house (6 months ago) in Memphis, TN that backs up to a concrete drainage ditch. There is a fairly steep, mostly shaded bank that leads from the flat section of the back yard to th...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
May 07, 2014 - What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center