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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.

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Thursday - June 05, 2008

From: Jackson, MI
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control
Title: Groundcover plants for slope to prevent erosion
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I have just made a 3/4 acre pond and the south facing slope is too steep to mow.Can you suggest any ground cover plants I could use to look nice and prevent erosion.

ANSWER:

Grasses are excellent plants to use for erosion control because their fibrous root systems are very effective in holding the soil. Since I don't know what your available sunlight is for the slope, i will recommend some species with various sun requirements. Partial shade = 2-6 hours of sunlight per day. Shade = <2 hours of sunlight per day. These grasses that I am recommending can grow to heights of 1 to 4 feet. However, they are all attractive when they are mature and brown as well as when they are green so you shouldn't you need to mow them.

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) sun, part shade, shade

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) part shade, shade

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) part shade

Sedges are grasslike but don't grow as tall as grasses—both of these grow to around 1 foot. They have the advantage of being evergreen and also having fibrous roots.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) evergreen, sun, part shade, shade

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) evergreen, part shade

Ferns are also an alternative if there is enough moisture available.

Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) evergreen, shade and part shade

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) evergreen, sun, part shade

Finally, here is a low, woody shrub that does well on pond margins and bogs.

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry) semi-evergreen, part shade

You can also go to our Recommended Species page and choose Mississippi from the map to see a list of commerically available native plants suitable for planned landscapes.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus virginicus

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Asplenium platyneuron

Polystichum acrostichoides

Gaylussacia dumosa

 

 

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