Explore Plants

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
    
 

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.

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Endangered plants of Maryland
March 06, 2009 - My high school would like to plant endangered plant species of Maryland in our wetlands, but we do not know where we can acquire these plants. Do you know of a place where we could buy endangered plan...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-native and invasive Carex crus-corvi in New York
July 20, 2007 - Hello. I can't seem to find carex crus-corvi (ravenfoot sedge) on any online seed/plant website. I was interested in buying seeds or plants. My last name is Corvi, and I would love to grow it. Can...
view the full question and answer

Native perennial roof garden plants for New York
November 09, 2006 - I am looking for perennial roof gardens plants, sedum, hen and chickens, native plants. I am in zone six. They will have three inches of perilite, gravel, and compost. Can you give me a good local so...
view the full question and answer

Planting native yaupons on fence line for privacy
July 26, 2008 - I live in the country and someone bought the place next door and is building a house close to me.(150 yards) I want to plant yaupon trees on my fence line. Can I get seeds somewhere? I have yaupons ...
view the full question and answer

Source of seeds for helianthus salicifolius (Willowleaf sunflower)
February 27, 2008 - Where can I purchase seeds for helianthus salicifolius?
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.