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
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

Ground cover for high traffic area in Pennsylvania
August 01, 2012 - I am wondering if there is a Pennsylvania native turf like grass/plant that can withstand a lot of foot traffic (public area with lots of children). This will be used in a formal setting so will need ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for damp areas
January 11, 2009 - I am looking for a cover ground plants that tolerate damp areas. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for groundcover in between flagstones in patio in Sugarland, TX.
July 05, 2011 - We are looking for a ground cover to plant in between our flagstone on our courtyard patio. The courtyard is full sun and we currently have a crushed rock-like substance in between the pieces. I thou...
view the full question and answer

Shady Groundcovers for NC
April 23, 2015 - I have a side yard that gets very little sun during the day and have tried St. Augustine grass unsuccessfully. Can you recommend a groundcover? We live close to the coast in Southeastern N. Carolina...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover or grass for Panama City, Florida
April 19, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I live in Panama City Florida and am having great difficulty growing a lawn. I would prefer no lawn as grass, it seems a pointless use of resources but my husband requires gr...
view the full question and answer

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