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

Roots of Savannah Holly close to house
February 26, 2009 - I live in Sugar Land and want to plant Savannah Holly at the ends of both sides of the front flowerbed. Are the roots too dangerous to plant so close to the house? (How far from the house should they...
view the full question and answer

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
view the full question and answer

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Looking for plants for phytoremediation in Columbus, TX
May 27, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for native Texan phytodegrading/rhizodegrading plants (basically I want phytoremediating plants that could be left in place and not have to be removed/disposed of after they had ta...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for planting under hollies in DC
April 01, 2011 - I would like shrub suggestions for planting under holly trees. I live in Washington, DC and have 2 very well-established large holly trees (2 story tall trees) in the front of our house, facing north...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center