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
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

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with Horse herb in Austin, TX.
December 12, 2012 - I'm considering replacing my St. Augustine grass with a Horseherb/Straggler Daisy ground cover, but I've heard that it provides a mosquito breeding habitat, especially if you allow dead leaves to de...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Buffalo grass and other native grass for lawn in Central Texas
March 17, 2008 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX - recently moved to into a newly built house. I wanted to put some native grass (like buffalo) in the back yard. - My back yard has slope (away from house) and front...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to invasive, non-native Vinca minor as ground cover
April 05, 2007 - I live in Central Austin. I want to plant a large area of Vinca minor since it is fast growing and offers attractive ground cover. I assume it requires little care with the rain being sufficient for i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center