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Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants for dry conditions and clay soils in Georgia

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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

 

 

 

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