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

Growing non-native bay leaf plant from Elyria OH
May 04, 2010 - I was wondering if the bay leaf plant is native and how hard it is to grow? I am so tired of buying expensive bay leaf in the store and want to do it myself.
view the full question and answer

Lingonberry 'Ida' Source for Commercial Production in the Pacific NW
November 08, 2013 - I am having difficulty locating a Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) cultivar named 'Ida'. Where can I purchase this plant for commercial production in the Pacific Northwest?
view the full question and answer

Is Lycopodium digitatum native to South Carolina?
December 27, 2012 - Is Lycopodium digitatum native to SC; do you know if it's available in SC nurseries?
view the full question and answer

Source for eastern red cedar trees for Pennsylvania
January 20, 2009 - Please help, Mr. Smarty Pants! I live in Easton PA, and I would like to create an instant screen on my property line using Eastern Redcedar trees. I was hoping to find 5 to 6 foot trees. Most place...
view the full question and answer

Source of wildflower seeds indigenous to Dallas area
February 21, 2003 - Where can I get wild flower seed indigenous to the N. Texas (Dallas) area?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center