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
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

Retention ponds for states in southeast, from Greenville SC
July 14, 2012 - We provide maintenance for Stormwater detention ponds and are looking for native grasses to plant in the bottom and sides of typically dry detention basins. Prefer low growing grasses that spread to...
view the full question and answer

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Grass Groundcover for Georgia Hillside
July 07, 2016 - I am looking for a grass to cover a hillside area down to a lake. It is mostly sunny in the spring & summer, but has no moisture except any rain that falls. I am not interested in having to mow it all...
view the full question and answer

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