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

Monday - June 25, 2007

From: Suwanee, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Plants for dry conditions and clay soils in Georgia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need a bush or plant that I can plant next to a creek that requires no maintenance to cover exposed roots and underbrush caused by rushing water whenever the creeks rises with large downpours. We built up the bottom half of the creek bed with river rock to about 4 feet high, but there is about an additional 3 feet of exposed dirt and roots where we would like to plant something. We tried planting wisteria to hang down over the edge, but it died because there is not irrigation on the other side of the creek and we live in Georgia and the soil can tend to be dry and hard in the summer. (Red clay!) My landscaper suggested bamboo, but we just set up a 'cape cod' look overlooking the creek, with a weeping willow tree and a couple of Adirondack chairs. We also cover a disgusting culvert with flagstone and it now looks beautiful, so if we can somehow find something to plant over our river rock, we should have a nice focal point for our rest area. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Here are several suggestions. All these will grow in clay soils, tolerate dry conditions and are native to Gwinnett County, Georgia. You will need to water them frequently for a period of time (probably for 2 or 3 months) after you have planted them, however, until the roots are well-established.

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Rhus copallinum (winged sumac)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush). This one will work if the area you are describing is frequently moist or standing in water.


Rhus glabra

Amorpha fruticosa

Rhus copallinum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small Yard Tree for Washington DC
July 20, 2012 - What do you suggest for a tree or shrub in my front yard? The yard is small; 9 ft x 12 ft. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Indian Hawthorn not flowering in Fairfield, TX
March 17, 2012 - My indian hawthorn shrubs won't flower, they are the white variety and I live in Freestone County, Texas, greenery is beautiful and very healthy plants but no flowers Have had the plants for over tw...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native photinia in Austin
October 07, 2013 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX (Austin Suburb)and have planted a number of Photinia shrubs in various areas of my property. All about 10 months old. The leaves are curling along their length on many...
view the full question and answer

Berries on cultivars of Ilex verticillata from Oak Park, IL
February 19, 2014 - I have three ilex verticillata cultivars (2 Nana, 1 Jim Dandy) planted on the west side of my house in a very shady site (there's a mature over-spreading hackberry on the parkway just to the west and...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
July 12, 2011 - What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
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