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 - June 15, 2008

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Retention of soil on bank in Pittsburgh, PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a steep bank in front of our house in Pittsburgh. We no longer want to mow this bank and wish to plant something that will spread and hold the soil. What do you recommend?

ANSWER:

Native grasses and sedges are the best plants to hold that soil. They have fibrous roots that will grip and retain the soil in rain or snow and spread to cover the bank. When they have begun to take hold, you might consider seeding the bank with wildflower seeds, thus creating a wildflower meadow on that bank. Even in the winter, the sedges and grasses will hold their places, and the wildflowers will reseed themselves. Mow no more. See our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening for help in doing this. We will first go to Recommended Species on our website, click on Pennsylvania on the map, and specify grass and grasslike plants. Since we do not know the sun exposure or soil moisture on your bank, perhaps you will want to do this yourself, checking those boxes with the correct information. Finally, when you are ready to begin planting, go to our Suppliers section, type your city and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area.

GRASSES

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

SEDGES

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Carex bicknellii (Bicknell's sedge)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex emoryi (Emory's sedge)


Bouteloua curtipendula

Bromus kalmii

Elymus canadensis

Sorghastrum nutans

Andropogon virginicus

Carex bicknellii

Carex blanda

Carex emoryi

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Trimming inland sea oats from Waco TX
January 30, 2013 - Re: Inland Sea Oats and trimming back in early spring "It passes through most of winter a soft brown, but becomes tattered and gray by February, a good time to cut it back to the basal rosette." ...
view the full question and answer

Brown blade tips on Habiturf from Austin
June 18, 2013 - After carefully following all the directions, II recently planted Habiturf and it's growing well. After the first mowing, however, we discovered the top half of the blades turned brown. We have a pus...
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
December 18, 2011 - What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas sage from Bastrop, TX
March 01, 2013 - Am I wasting my time trying to transplant texas sage runners? Any advice?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native plants for slope in South Carolina
July 14, 2008 - We would like to plant an evergreen garden in our backyard, which is on a slope. It receives the sun from approx 9-4. We have an above ground pool, and patio area. Would also like a recommendation 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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center