Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Hedge plantings for Flower Mound, TX
March 14, 2011 - Need to cover ~ 1000 linear feet with a thick hedge plant that will be ~ 8-15 ft tall, 8-12ft wide, fast growing, evergreen, drought resistant. Live in Flower Mound Tx. Researching on Red tip Photinia...
view the full question and answer

Annabelle hydrangeas blossoms drooping to ground in Wilmette, IL
April 10, 2011 - I have a row of Annabelle Hydrangeas that become very heavy and droop over the entire width of the bed. I would like to know what I can use for support so that they will stand up and allow me to plan...
view the full question and answer

Barrier Shrubs for North Carolina
July 11, 2015 - Need a spiny barrier shrub that will grow in North Carolina shady rain forest (4,000 feet elevation) to deter trespassers wading down a creek from climbing on a private nature path that we constructed...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing privacy shrub for Northern California home
January 22, 2014 - We have purchased a home in Anderson CA. We want a privacy shrub along the roadside of our home to reduce noise. 60'x 25' of full sun with rocky soil and many Oak trees.We want something that will ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.