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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 16, 2008

From: Minford, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses for sloped clay hillside in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have built a new home located on a hillside, our soil has a tremendous amount of clay in it. We have a sloped hillside that flows within 25 feet to the back door. The area is wooded and therefore shady. Should I plant the Kentucky 31/ Fescue grass on this hillside or should I go with something different to keep from erosion problems? Please advise which planting would be most beneficial and what type of plant recommended for our region. Thanks

ANSWER:

Fescue is not a native to North America, but was imported to the United States from Europe in the 1800's. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we specialize in plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. Plants already adapted to an area will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. For general information on Fescue, of which Kentucky 31 is no doubt a named cultivar, see this article by Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Cooperative Extension, Tall Fescue.

We would prefer to recommend native grasses for your shaded, clay slope. Their fibrous roots will help prevent erosion. We went to our Recommended Species section, clicked on Ohio on the map, and then used the Narrow Your Search function to indicate grass or grass-like for the Habit, and part shade for Light Requirement. We got a list of six grasses that are all perennial, and all will tolerate clay very well. You can follow the links to our webpage on each grass, which will have propagation information, projected height, etc. For further information on each grass, go to the bottom of the webpage and click on the link to Google on that plant. When you have selected a grass or grasses for your area, you can go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area, all with contact information. 

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)


Andropogon gerardii

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Propagation of Texas sage from Bastrop, TX
March 01, 2013 - Am I wasting my time trying to transplant texas sage runners? Any advice?
view the full question and answer

Questions about Habiturf
April 01, 2012 - What does habiturf look like when it first emerges? Could you post some images? And how long will it take to begin to cover?
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control in a Mid-Atlantic Shoreline
April 09, 2012 - My family owns a riverfront property off of Machodoc Creek which runs into the Potomac on the Virginia side. The water is roughly 3 feet deep at the shoreline and concrete cylinders are used to contro...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

Raised beds over lateral lines in Solgohachia AR
January 02, 2010 - I would like to build raised flower beds over my lateral lines. They would be planted with strawberries and perennials. Will this cause any problems with the absorption into the ground or not lettin...
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