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
1 rating

Thursday - August 07, 2008

From: Granville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Plants for a steep lot in Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have built a home on a very steep lot (approx 1 1/2 acres)in Northern Central Tenn in Jackson County. The lot is too steep to mow and some of it is too steep to stand on comfortably. My question is to ask you what type vegetation, i.e. grasses, wildflowers, bulbs,etc to plant/sow to prevent erosion and that will NOT have to be mowed - very low maintenance is what I am looking for. Please give me your advice and where I can buy the products you recommend and when to plant - Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I love lots of color also but will abide by your advice

ANSWER:

You don't say what the site is like with regard to sun and moisture so I will have to be rather general and give you some choices that hopefully fit the site. Grasses are really the best plants for erosion control because they have extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place. The following grasses are clumping grasses not turf grasses. They also are very attractive and ornamental. They can be spaced out, look attractive and still control erosion. They do get tall, but if they are spaced they shouldn't need mowing. They look attractive when green and even after they are mature and have browned. In the winter you can cut off the dead stalks and be ready for them to come out green again in the spring.

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) sun, part shade, shade and moist to dry soils

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) sun and moist soils

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) sun, part shade and dry soils

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) part shade, shade and moist to dry soils

Sedges also are effective and the ones I've listed are very grass-like, but tend to be shorter than grasses and shouldn't require cutting.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) sun, part shade, shade and moist to dry soils

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) part shade and wet to moist soils

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) sun, part shade, shade and moist to dry soils

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) sun, part shade and moist to dry soils

You can add wildflowers to the mix and you can find a list of Tennessee Recommended Species to choose from that are suitable for landscaping and commercially available by visiting our Recommended Species page and choosing Tennessee from the map there.

You can find nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area in our National Suppliers Directory.


Elymus canadensis

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Chasmanthium latifolium

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex pensylvanica

Carex texensis

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source of seeds for Schisandra glabra (bay starvine)
June 21, 2008 - Hi, I am looking for an herbal plant, Schisandra. It bears red berries. Please let me know where I can find/ buy this plant. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Is Cissus trifoliata a food source for wildlife?
November 10, 2008 - We apparently have Cissus Trifoliata growing around and over our porch.I was thinking about trying to remove it and plant grape vines instead as our desert tortoises will eat grape leaves. My question...
view the full question and answer

Identification of palm plant
June 21, 2008 - Hello! I just bought a tiny 10" tall feather leafed palm. I did my research first though, and thought I was buying an areca palm. Now after doing more research, I really have no idea what type of pal...
view the full question and answer

Finding plants to thrive under white pines in Newaygo, MI
May 04, 2009 - Would you please explain why plants do not grow or grow well under white pines or other evergreens? Are there any ground covers that would thrive under a white pine?
view the full question and answer

Looking for nursery selling Wrights skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii)
May 02, 2007 - I'm located in Plano, and am trying to find seeds or seedlings for a plant species I saw at the LBJ Wildflower Center in Austin. I'm looking for a blue-flowering ground cover plant that is called W...
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