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

Thursday - June 26, 2008

From: Fawn Grove, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a problem. I read your answer regarding grasses as good cover, however I can not use anything that will grow to a height greater than 6 - 8 inches due to driveway / road visibility. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

This was hard. The grasses we would ordinarily recommend for a slope in Pennsylvania all grow too high for your limits. One sedge that stayed low, one vine that would creep, and two low growing flowering plants, all of which will grow in Pennsylvania, were all we could come up with. You must have a really steep approach to the street to need that kind of height for visibility, not to mention the low amount of sun. Hopefully, some or all of these will help you out. If you find one or more that will work for you, go to Suppliers and type the name of your town and state in the Enter Search Location box. You will get a list of native plant suppliers, nurseries, seed companies and landscape professionals in your general area.

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox) - mat-forming perennial

Viola canadensis (Canadian white violet)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)


Phlox stolonifera

Carex pensylvanica

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Viola canadensis

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Possibility of replacing Bermudagrass with native grasses and wildflowers
November 24, 2008 - Are there any native grasses and wildflowers that can compete with bermuda grass to make a nativ-y wild area without removing the bermuda?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a children's playground
April 20, 2015 - We have extensive native gardens on our 2 acre property, but my children want a garden of their own with plants they can hide under and that are good for imaginative play. Are there any native plants...
view the full question and answer

Removing Center Stem From Desert Spoon (Sotol) in Phoenix
March 11, 2016 - I have a desert spoon. I hate the center stem. Can I remove the center stem without hurting the rest of the plant? And what is the best way to remove it? I looked for this answer in your questions bu...
view the full question and answer

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen from Simpsonville SC
May 04, 2013 - My neighbor cut down his part of our shared woods so now we see his whole "outside patio area". What kinds of fast growing shade loving trees and shrubs can we plant on our property line that will c...
view the full question and answer

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