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
1 rating

Wednesday - January 09, 2008

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or grass to keep the trails from being too muddy. The trails are mostly shaded. I want a hardy, low maintence cover. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

This is a toughie in two respects: (1) most of the grasses, sedges and perennials are not all that low-growing and, (2) the ones that are would probably not be thrilled with foot traffic. As edgings or border, however, a number of them could work to help prevent erosion and also to mark the trails. We have been in a number of East Texas state parks where pine trees were plentiful, and they had paths mulched with pine needles, which made a nice footing, soaked up moisture and helped to keep weeds down. If you are in an area where pine needles are freely available, you might consider that as an alternative. We did come up with a number of suggestions for plant material that might work in your situation:

GRASSES AND SEDGES

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass)

LOW-GROWING PERENNIALS:

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Oxalis drummondii (Drummond's woodsorrel)

Packera obovata (roundleaf ragwort)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Viola pubescens var. pubescens (downy yellow violet)

When you have read the descriptions of these plants and made a selection, you will probably want to go to our Native Plant Suppliers list to find one convenient for you; contact them and find out what is available, and whether they might have viable alternatives to suggest.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Nassella tenuissima

 


Adiantum capillus-veneris

Callirhoe involucrata

Calyptocarpus vialis

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Oxalis drummondii

Packera obovata

Phlox divaricata

Phyla nodiflora

Viola pubescens var. pubescens
 

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover for a wet hillside in the San Juan Islands
July 30, 2014 - I live on Orcas Island in WA state. We have a place on the water and want to plant something that is no taller than 2-3 feet, lower if possible, on a hillside. The hillside gets lots of sun, yet als...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing groundcover for New York
September 02, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I love your site! But I can't quite find this answer: can you recommend a fast-growing groundcover native to southern NY State (Dutchess County) that I can plant NOW (Augus...
view the full question and answer

Native groundcovers to replace non-native St. Augustine
May 24, 2007 - I live in west Travis County just south of Lake Austin. My backyard is very shady and does not drain well. I want to spend some time and effort landscaping it. I have thought about Amerishade St. A...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance ground cover for pool area in Corona CA
March 28, 2009 - Hi, I have this slope in my backyard that goes up to the neighbors yard. I'm looking for a low maintenance ground cover type plant that will stop erosion and won't cause a mess for my pool which is...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for foot traffic in dry shade from Prineville OR
May 12, 2013 - I live in central Oregon. I have an area under a large elm tree that slopes on all sides and has lots of foot traffic and no sun. (my kids have a swing in the tree and play around it a lot.) It's a v...
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