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

Sunday - April 20, 2008

From: Johnstown, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Possibilities of plants for bank shale ledge in Johnstown, PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a mountain that we ripped out to build our house. The remaining ledge is mostly bank shale and everyone is telling us that nothing will grow on the hillside due to it being bank shale and a pretty steep slope. Do you have any ideas on what might work??

ANSWER:

First we had to try to find out what "bank shale" was, since we are gardeners and not geologists. We found a lot about undersea formations and petroleum bearing formations, but none of the pictures we saw appeared to have any vegetation on the stone. In fact, the close-ups of the bank shale looked very inhospitable. Perhaps we need to ask you a few questions that may send you in the right direction, because we really can't recommend any plants that would grow in that shale unless there was a pretty deep layer of soil on top of it. Our first question is: what caused you to choose that for a building site? Second, has the slope been examined by an engineer or a geologist to ascertain if it is stable? Is your house sitting at the foot of this bank? Are there other properties in your area with a similar situation, and have you observed the solutions those landowners have reached?

We think that before you start trying to find plants that can survive on that slope, you need to make sure it is safe. If there is some soil on top of the shale, there might be grasses or conifers that could be coaxed to grow there, but nothing planted is going to hold that slope if it begins to slip. In Texas, we have a lot of plants that grow in rocky soil, because that's what there is, but there is some soil, and it's usually not a very steep slope.

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Grasses for moist, steep hillside in Tupelo MS
July 01, 2010 - I have a very steep bank that I have pampas grass planted in spots. It must be a natural spring in the bank because it stays very wet and runs into the street below. Can you suggest something to pla...
view the full question and answer

Non-allergenic landscape in Fairfield, CT
April 18, 2009 - I live in Fairfield, CT and need to have a non-allergenic landscape. Can you please list plants, ground covers, and trees/shrubs that would be beautiful, and help in this critical situation? The lan...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Kerrville, TX.
August 18, 2012 - We have a steep slope at the back of our property in "caleche" territory in Kerrville. It is about 80 feet wide by 40 feet and ends at a wash. It is outside of our fenced yard and we are in city lim...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover plants for erosion problem in Orlando
June 01, 2009 - Hi, I live in Orlando, and have a terrible erosion problem on one side of my back yard. Every time it rains, I lose my yard under the fence! The area is part sun. Can you please suggest a plant or ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
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